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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ming Cho Lee
Born(1930-10-03)October 3, 1930
Shanghai, China
DiedOctober 24, 2020(2020-10-24) (aged 90)
Occupation(s)Set designer, professor
SpouseElizabeth (Betsy) Lee
ChildrenRichard Lee, Christopher Lee, David Lee
Parent(s)Lee Tsu Fa
Tang Ing
RelativesLee Tsu Fa (grandfather)
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese李名覺
Simplified Chinese李名觉

Ming Cho Lee (Chinese: 李名覺; pinyin: Lǐ Míngjué; October 3, 1930 – October 23, 2020)[2] was a Chinese-American theatrical set designer and professor at the Yale School of Drama.[3]

Personal life

Lee was born on Oct. 3, 1930, in Shanghai, China to Lee Tsu Fa and Tang Ing.[3] Lee, whose father (Lee Tsu Fa) was a Yale University graduate (1918), moved to the United States in 1949 and attended Occidental College.

Lee married Elizabeth (Rapport) Lee in 1958. They had three sons Richard, Christopher, and David.[3]


Lee first worked on Broadway as a second assistant set designer to Jo Mielziner on The Most Happy Fella in 1956. His first Broadway play as Scenic Designer was The Moon Besieged in 1962; he went on to design the sets for over 20 Broadway shows, including Mother Courage and Her Children, King Lear, The Glass Menagerie, The Shadow Box, and For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf.

He won the following awards:

Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design

The Helen Hayes Award

The 1983 Tony Award for Best Scenic Design for K2.

The 2013 Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement[4]

The 2002 National Medal of Arts

The 1995 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence

He also designed sets for opera (including eight productions for the Metropolitan Opera and thirteen for the New York City Opera, ballet, and regional theatres such as Arena Stage, the Mark Taper Forum, and the Guthrie Theater.

He designed over 30 productions for Joseph Papp at The Public Theater, including the original Off-Broadway production of Hair (musical). Starting in 1969, Lee taught at the Yale School of Drama, where he was co-chair of the Design Department. In February 2017, he announced that he would be retiring at the end of the fall semester.[5] He was on the Board of Directors for The Actors Center in Manhattan. Lee is the subject of Ming Cho Lee: A Life in Design by Arnold Aronson, which was published by TCG Books in 2014.[6]

Awards and honors

Lee was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1998,[7] and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2002.[8] In 1995, he won the  Obie Award for Sustained Excellence for his consistent and valuable contributions to the theatrical community.[9]

He won the Tony Award in 1983 for the play K2 and a lifetime achievement Tony Award in 2013.[3]

Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design

The Helen Hayes Award

  • Six Awards for Outstanding Set Design, Resident Production, from 1996-2002.
  • The Helen Hayes Tribute Award (2006)

The 1983 Tony Award for Best Scenic Design for K2.

The 2013 Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement

The 2002 National Medal of Arts

The 1995 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence

See also


  1. ^ New York Times - "Ming Cho Lee, Fabled Set Designer, Is Dead at 90"
  2. ^ "Ming Cho-Lee Biography".
  3. ^ a b c d Genzlinger, Neil (26 October 2020). "Ming Cho Lee, Fabled Set Designer, Is Dead at 90". New York Times. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  4. ^ "Stage Design by Ming Cho Lee, 2016 – Museum of Chinese in America". Retrieved 2023-09-02.
  5. ^ "Ming Cho Lee to Depart Yale School of Drama". AMERICAN THEATRE. Theatre Communications Group. 17 February 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  6. ^ "'Ming Cho Lee: A Life in Design' Celebrates the Designer's Work". AMERICAN THEATRE. 19 September 2018. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  7. ^ Yale University Library - Guide to the Lloyd Richards Papers
  8. ^ Lifetime Honors - National Medal of Arts Archived 2011-07-21 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "95".


  • Aronson, Arnold. Ming Cho Lee: A Life in Design. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 2014. ISBN 9781559364614

External links

This page was last edited on 3 September 2023, at 00:08
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