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Lee Purcell
Lee Purcell.jpg
Lee Jeune Williams

(1947-06-15) June 15, 1947 (age 73)
Years active1970–present
Robert Gibson
(m. 1968; div. 1972)
Kenneth Gerbino
(m. 1975; div. 1981)
Gary A. Lowe
(m. 1982; div. 1995)

Lee Purcell (née Lee Jeune Williams on June 15, 1947) is an American actress who appeared in both motion pictures and television.

Early life

Purcell was born at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina.[1] Her birth father, an aviator and Marine major, died when Purcell was a young child. She then lived with her grandparents[2] until her mother, Lee McKnight Purcell, married Navy doctor Donald Purcell, who formally adopted Lee as a child.[3] She has a sister, Paige Wooldridge.[4] Purcell and her family moved multiple times to different states and military bases.[2]

After the military service ended, they eventually settled in Paragould, Arkansas, where Purcell spent most of her youth. She graduated from their high school in 1965[4] and attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri as a dance and theatre student.[5][6][7] [8]


Purcell in 1970
Purcell in 1970

Purcell made her debut as a performer at five years of age, appearing on a Memphis, Tennessee TV show.[9][10] After being expelled from Stephens College, Purcell[5] arrived in California in 1967[11] and studied acting. Casting off her southern accent was another goal she successfully worked on.[12] Purcell supported herself by working in commercials[8] and selling clothes at a disco.[12]

In 1969 Purcell was personally chosen for her first feature film by Steve McQueen in his company's production of Adam at Six A.M., co-starring Michael Douglas.[13] Asked to explain why he picked Purcell among nearly 500 other available actresses, McQueen said, "It wasn't easy. We kept narrowing down the field over a period of weeks until it came to giving screen tests to six of them. All of them were good, but Lee seemed to jump right out of the screen."[14]

Purcell at the 1994 Emmy Awards
Purcell at the 1994 Emmy Awards

In the early 1970s Purcell temporarily moved to England, studying acting in London[15] under the private training of Professor Margot Lister.[16] During this time she frequently returned to the United States to act in American movies and TV shows.[17] Years later, she told a reporter, "I had a great time. I thought it was a permanent move. But I wasn't allowed to work there and it became difficult to go elsewhere to work."[12]

Her television work included roles as Billie Dove and Olivia de Havilland in two biopic TV movies: The Amazing Howard Hughes (1977)[18] and My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn (1985).[19]

She was nominated for two Emmy Awards. In 1991, she was nominated as Outstanding Lead Actress for Long Road Home.[20] and in 1994 as Outstanding Supporting Actress for Secret Sins of the Father.[21] She was co-producer, and starred in the 1998 low-budget cable-TV movie Malaika (alternate title Tons of Trouble).[22][23]

Personal life

Purcell has performed narrations of poetry and fiction in front of live audiences.[24][25][26] She is a former NRA (National Rifle Association) director[27][28] and has been involved with Scientology.[29]

In December 2010 Purcell launched an interactive fashion and beauty website, BoomerBabes, geared towards women over 40 and Baby Boomer women born between 1946 and 1964. BoomerBabes no longer accepts orders. [30]

Charity work

Purcell is on the board of directors for Heart of a Horse, a non profit organization which seeks to rescue and rehabilitate abused and neglected horses.[31]


Feature films

Year Film Role Director
1970 Adam at Six A.M. Jerri Jo Hopper Robert Scheerer
1972 Dirty Little Billy Berle Stan Dragoti
Stand Up and Be Counted Karen Hammond Jackie Cooper
Necromancy Priscilla Bert I. Gordon
1973 Kid Blue Molly Ford James Frawley
1974 Mr. Majestyk Wiley Richard Fleischer
1978 Big Wednesday Peggy Gordon John Milius
Almost Summer Christine Alexander Martin Davidson
1980 Stir Crazy Susan Sidney Poitier
1982 Airplane II: The Sequel Mrs. Seluchi (Deleted Scene) Ken Finkleman
Homework Ms. Jackson James Beshears
1983 Eddie Macon's Run Jilly Buck Jeff Kanew
Valley Girl Beth Brent Martha Coolidge
1985 Space Rage Maggie Conrad E. Palmisano
1996 Movies, Money, Murder Lilah Stephen Eckelberry, Arthur Webb
1998 Dizzyland Dennis Hackin
2005 The Unknown aka Clawed: The Legend of Sasquatch Doris Winslow Karl Kozak
2015 Kids vs Monsters Francine Gingerfield


Year Title Role Notes
1970 Marcus Welby, M.D. Cathy Cullen Made a second appearance in 1972, as 'Carol Lockett'
Bonanza Angie
The Young Rebels Maggie Todd
1972 Medical Center Liza
1973 Cannon Marian Luke Made two additional appearances in 1975, various characters
Hijack Eileen Noonan TV movie
1974 ABC Wide World Mystery Donna
The Rockford Files Susan Parsons
1975 The Waltons Bobby Strom

Lee played a daring Aviator like her father was in real life. She and John Boy had a relationship, briefly.

Insight Tracy
Barnaby Jones Kathy Cooper Made a second appearance in 1977, as 'Peggy Giroux'
1976 Hawaii Five-O Molly Taggert Made a second appearance in 1977, same character
Jigsaw John Virginia Sand
1977 The Amazing Howard Hughes Billie Dove TV movie
The Streets of San Francisco Carol Revson
1978 Stranger in Our House Julia Trent TV movie (aka Summer of Fear)
1979 Murder in Music City Samantha Hunt TV movie (aka The Country Western Murders
A Man Called Sloane Michele Blake
1980 Kenny Rogers as The Gambler Jennie Reed TV movie
My Wife Next Door Lisa Pallick Pilot for proposed TV series
The Secret War of Jackie's Girls Casey McCann TV movie
1981 The Girl, the Gold Watch & Dynamite Bonnie Lee Beaumont TV movie and pilot for proposed TV series
Killing at Hell's Gate Jane Pasco TV movie
1982 The Phoenix Cindy Houghton
1985 Magnum, P.I. Goldie Morris
Murder, She Wrote Joanna Benson Made four additional appearances in 1986, 1989 and 1994, various characters
My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn Olivia de Havilland TV movie
Hollywood Beat Maggie
1986 Betrayed by Innocence Sharon DeLeon TV movie
1987 Matlock Andrea Colter
MacGyver Shadow
1988 To Heal a Nation Sandie TV movie
The Incredible Hulk Returns Dr. Margaret Shaw TV movie
Jake and the Fatman Pamela Parker
1989 Simon & Simon Colleen Huntley/Missy Taylor
1990 Shades of LA Alex Taylor
1991 Long Road Home Bessie Robertson TV movie. Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress
1994 Secret Sins of the Father Ann Thielman TV movie. Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress
1995 Due South Louise St. Laurent Made five additional appearances in 1995 and 1996, same character
Dazzle Red TV movie
The Magic of Christmas Herself Holiday special
1997 Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction Dr. Kim O'Farrell Segment: "The Unknown Patient"
1998 Promised Land Beth Hixon
Malaika Molly DeMornay TV movie (aka Tons of Trouble
2010 Persons Unknown Eleanor Sullivan Mini-series. Five appearances
2016 JL Ranch Mable Ritter TV film

Special projects

Year Title Role Notes
1986 The Road to Freedom: L. Ron Hubbard and Friends Herself (singer) Video short and record album
1987 A Woman's Guide to Firearms Herself Instructional video
Your First Gun- A Family Guide To Shooting The mother Instructional video
1988 The Married Couple Video short
1992 The Joke Jane 35mm short
1997 This World, Then the Fireworks ADR work (additional dialogue recording)
2006 White Picket Fence Bonnie Durley Super 16mm short


  1. ^ Willis, John A. (1 January 1981). "John Willis' Screen World". Crown – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b "Read what Lee".
  3. ^ "Dr. Donald I. Purcell".
  4. ^ a b "Paragould Took Hat Off For Lee Purcell".
  5. ^ a b "Schenectady Gazette - Google News Archive Search".
  6. ^ "Columbia Missourian Newspaper 1967-01-15 :: Columbia Missourian (1967 -- Oct 1968)".
  7. ^ “Adam Travels to Excelsior Springs”, Columbia Missourian, September 21, 1969; accessed June 14, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Columbia Missourian November 26, 1972 “Success for Lee Purcell”,; accessed June 14, 2015.
  9. ^ Purcell Biography
  10. ^ "To Jump Off the Cliff Into an Abyss: A Life's Work with Emmy Nominee Lee Purcell—Interview by Jeremy Roberts for Medium". 12 April 2017.
  11. ^ The Sumter Daily Item-Dec 26, 1969
  12. ^ a b c Profile, Daily News (Bowling Green, KY), May 8, 1981.
  13. ^ "Mentored By the Biggest Star in the World: Inside Steve McQueen's 'Adam at 6 A.M.'—Interview by Jeremy Roberts for Medium". 13 April 2017.
  14. ^ Profile, Beaver County Times, September 25, 1969.
  15. ^ Sun Sentinel-Fort Lauderdale February 26, 1985
  16. ^ Spotlight: Lee Purcell Archived 2011-03-05 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Class Actress: An Interview with Lee Purcell (2009 Internet interview)
  18. ^ Profile, Times Daily, April 11, 1977.
  19. ^ Profile, Lakeland Ledger, January 20, 1985.
  20. ^ Profile, Sun Sentinel, July 19, 1991.
  21. ^ Profile, Los Angeles Times, July 22, 1994.
  22. ^ inbaseline-Lee Purcell Credits[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ Profile, New York Times; accessed April 8, 2015.
  24. ^ Saint Hill International Arts Festival
  25. ^ "Los Angeles Times: Archives - Poetic Preservation A group of actors will perform traditional and contemporary cowboy writings at the Gene Autry museum".
  26. ^ The Golden Age Theater Archived 2011-07-11 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "Crossfire: The War Behind the Closed Doors of the NRA -". 3 June 1994.
  28. ^ "The Gun Zone -- SHOT Show Bimbos". Archived from the original on 2011-02-10.
  29. ^ Richardson, John (September 11, 1993). "The Scientology church of Hollywood". The Globe and Mail (Thomas Canada Limited): p. D5.
  30. ^ "BoomerBabes".
  31. ^ About Heart of a Horse

External links

Media related to Lee Purcell at Wikimedia Commons

This page was last edited on 30 May 2020, at 06:00
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