Intense, immensely gifted young actor who never fulfilled
his promise. The son of an Episcopal minister, Lee
began acting after his first year of college. After a
brief stint on Broadway, Lee was signed by the powerful
agent Dick Clayton, who had handled James Dean. Lee made
several appearances in East Coast television programs,
such as Playhouse 90, before moving to Hollywood in 1959.
While rooming with actor James Franciscus, Lee guested
in such TV programs as The Rifleman and Have Gun - Will
Travel. In April of '59, Lee starred LIVE with Helen
Hayes and Burgess Meredith in the Hallmark Hall Of Fame
Production of O'Neill's Ah, Wilderness! Later that same
year, Lee landed his first movie role with Alan Ladd in
All The Young Men. In 1960, Lee won the coveted role
of Sammy Golden in Warner Brothers' film adaptation of
William Inge's The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs. Lee
received a Golden Globe nomination and rave reviews.
Sadly, Lee only made one more film, The Explosive
Generation, before finishing out his career in TV guest
roles. Nonetheless, Lee brought a potent sexuality to
his roles in The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits (now
available on DVD), as well as a haunting pathos and
quiet poetry in others, such as Route 66 and Gunsmoke.
Lee quit acting in 1966 due to his personal frustrations
with the industry. For a few years, he owned a swank
New York restaurant-bar, Toad Hall. After brief romances
with such actresses as Tuesday Weld and Candice Bergen,
Lee married in 1969 and moved to Florida. Lee divorced
in 1972. An avid seaman, Lee spent the remainder of his
life sailing Tahiti, The Gulf Of Mexico and other exotic
locales on his private schooner. Sadly, Lee developed
respiratory problems which would render him unconscious.
Lee collapsed and died in his Palm Beach apartment on
the afternoon of December 4, 1974. "A quality actor",
says Western star Ben Cooper. "He was so subtle, you
never knew he was acting." Veteran character actor
Dabbs Greer: "He was one of the most sensitive young
actors ever to come out of New York."