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Anna Lee Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (28) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 2 January 1913Ightham, Kent, England, UK
Date of Death 14 May 2004Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA  (pneumonia)
Birth NameJoan Boniface Winnifrith
Nickname Queen of the Quota Quickies
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Mini Bio (1)

The daughter of a clergyman, Anna Lee was born Joan Boniface Winnifrith and encouraged to pursue an acting career by her father. After training at London's Royal Albert Hall, she took to the boards and later began appearing in English films, first as an extra, then working her way up to featured parts and finally earning the unofficial title "Queen of the Quota Quickies." Lee and her husband, director Robert Stevenson, relocated to Hollywood in the late 1930s, and Lee began starring in stateside productions as well as becoming a fixture of the John Ford stock company (she appeared in How Green Was My Valley (1941), Fort Apache (1948) and a half-dozen others). In 1970, she became the seventh wife of novelist, poet and playwright Robert Nathan (Portrait of Jennie (1948), The Bishop's Wife (1947)); they married three months after they met. Now widowed, Lee soldiers on, regularly playing wealthy Lila Quartermaine on the TV soaper General Hospital (1963).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tom Weaver <TomWeavr@aol.com>

Spouse (3)

Robert Nathan (5 April 1970 - 25 May 1985) (his death)
George Stafford (8 June 1944 - 1964) (divorced) (3 children)
Robert Stevenson (6 December 1934 - 9 March 1944) (divorced) (2 children)

Trivia (28)

Goddaughter of Dame Sybil Thorndike and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
She was awarded M.B.E. (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 1982 for her services to drama.
She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January 1993 for her services to film and television industry.
Was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident, and acted in a wheelchair for more than two decades.
Died just a week before she was to have received a daytime Emmy award for "lifetime achievement." Her actor son, Jeffrey Byron, accepted on her behalf at the New York ceremony.
Amber Tamblyn originally portrayed the adopted granddaughter of Lee's character on General Hospital (1963). In the 1950s (long before Tamblyn's birth), Tamblyn's father, Russ Tamblyn, was married to Lee's daughter Venetia Stevenson.
Grandmother of Erin Everly and Evan Stafford.
One of three children born to an Anglican clergyman at St. Peters Church in Ightham, Kent, her godmother was legendary actress Sybil Thorndike.
The blue-eyed blonde was occasionally a brunette in films. In Seven Sinners (1940), she wore her hair darker because star Marlene Dietrich insisted on no competing blondes in her pictures.
Initially studied with Elsie Fogarty at the Royal Albert Central School Hall in London. Later toured with the London Repertory Theatre where she earned the title "The British Bombshell."
Comedian Jack Hulbert served as Best Man at her first wedding, and Alfred Hitchcock gave her way at her second.
During WWII, she volunteered for overseas duty with the U.S.O. entertaining Allied troops in North Africa, Iran, and Sicily.
Had two daughters with first husband Robert Stevenson. Following their divorce in 1944, Anna was given custody of younger daughter Caroline, but Venetia chose to live with her father. Anna was estranged from her daughter for 15 years. They reunited after appearing together in the films Jet Over the Atlantic (1959) and The Big Night (1960).
In the film Bedlam (1946), Anna darkened her hair so that audiences would take her more seriously and kept it dark for much of the next few years. One of her costumes was worn by Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind (1939).
Dubbed the voice of Patricia Morison who was playing the writer George Sand in the movie Song Without End (1960) because Harry Cohn wanted the character to have harsher vocal tones.
Had three sons from her second marriage: John, Steven and Timothy. John passed away in 1986.
Was good friends with Maureen O'Hara and Roddy McDowall.
Anna Lee played opposite a character named Allan Quartermain, in King Solomon's Mines (1937), then 46 years later played a character named Lila Quartermaine in TV soap General Hospital (1963) who had a son Alan Quartermaine.
Best remembered by the public for her starring role as Lila Quartermaine on General Hospital (1963).
Acting mentor and friends of Leslie Charleson, Anthony Geary and Jacklyn Zeman.
A political conservative.
During World War II, Lee performed with 'Jack Benny (I)' and others in USO tours entertaining troops in North Africa and Europe. Gen. George Patton awarded her a special medal for her efforts.
Anna Lee passed away on May 14, 2004. Just a couple of months afterwards, General Hospital (1963) aired a tribute to Lee by holding a memorial service for her character.
Close friend of Jeanne Cooper. Cooper got a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame several months after Lee.
Metal band Dream Theater named the character of one of their songs after her.
Her former General Hospital (1963) co-star, Jacklyn Zeman lived not too far from Jeanne Cooper, who was Lee's close friend.

Personal Quotes (2)

I want to die with my boots on. English actors have a great reputation for longevity.
[on working with John Wayne in Seven Sinners (1940)] Marlene [Marlene Dietrich] didn't want a blonde in the picture--other than herself. So it was the first time I had to rinse [color] my hair. John Wayne was a lovely man, what I would call a typical American--very nice, very modest. His stature as a star never came up, although we worked together many times over the years. On our first encounter, we were engaged in conversation and he asked me if I was a Republican. Since I was new to this country, I thought he was asking if I was a publican, which is a person who keeps a publichouse for drinking beer. I told him I was not a publican, but that I did enjoy beer. [Laughs] That really confused him!

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