Biography

Prime-Time Emmy-nominated actress Lee Purcell recently had the honor of completing a starring role in the upcoming feature film CAROL OF THE BELLS for director Joey Travolta and his Inclusion Films.

Inclusion Films teaches and employs people in the film industry who have developmental and physical disabilities. The title role of “Carol”, a character who has Down Syndrome, is played by an actress who actually has Down Syndrome. Also, over 70% of the crew on CAROL OF THE BELLS were people with disabilities who had been trained in Mr. Travolta’s schools.

CAROL OF THE BELLS is scheduled to open the Bentonville Film Festival May 2019 and scheduled to be released during the holidays late 2019.

Lee is the recipient of two Prime-Time Emmy nominations, her first being for LONG ROAD HOME starring opposite Mark Harmon, the second for SECRET SINS OF THE FATHERS starring opposite Beau Bridges.

Lee recently completed the pilot SICK and was also recently seen in the film JL RANCH opposite Jon Voight and in KIDS VS. MONSTERS opposite Malcolm McDowell and in LOVE AT FIRST GLANCE opposite Amy Smart.

In her extensive career, this acclaimed actress has earned additional numerous film, television and stage credits, including her role as “Louise St. Laurent” on the international TV series DUE SOUTH and as the sultry step-mom in the iconic film VALLEY GIRL with Nicholas Cage. Lee was also seen as “Eleanor Sullivan” in the NBC-TV Prime-Time series PERSONS UNKNOWN with Chadwick Boseman, created by Oscar winner Christopher McQuarrie. Fans around the world frequently reach out to Lee for her role as "Peggy" in the cult favorite film BIG WEDNESDAY.

Lee has also starred opposite many other of Hollywood’s popular leading men, and has the distinction of starring opposite two of Hollywood’s dynastic father-son duos, Michael Douglas and Kirk Douglas and Beau Bridges and Lloyd Bridges.

As a young actress, Lee’s film career began when she was personally selected and mentored by legendary movie star Steve McQueen to star in McQueen’s Solar Productions’ film ADAM AT 6 A.M. opposite Michael Douglas. She will always be grateful to McQueen for his casting and mentoring her and cherishes the time spent with him.

From an early age, Lee was drawn to the arts. While living in Dallas, Texas she was chosen by Neiman Marcus to be a child model so she began modeling professionally at the age of three years. She also began dance training at three, did her first television show at five years old in Memphis, Tennessee while the family was stationed at Millington Naval Base, her first play at seven, and all the while was studying music, writing, painting, photography, and other art forms.

As a dancer, Lee was performing in a traveling troupe by the age of 13, and later danced in such films as ALMOST SUMMER and television shows such as McGYVER.

Lee was born into a military family at Cherrypoint Marine Base in North Carolina. After the untimely death of her highly decorated Marine pilot father, she was placed with various relatives who raised her until her mother was re-married to a Navy doctor who served the Marine Corps.

They moved frequently to several different states, cities and military bases, then settled in Arkansas after her mother’s second husband completed his Navy service and he found work there.

Eager to start the life she envisioned, Lee left home at the age of 17, a few days after graduating high school, to pursue her dreams and to receive her acting training in California and London, England.

Being a person who enjoys a challenge, Lee has been a motorcycle enthusiast, flown planes, and has competed in rodeos. She has done many of her own stunts in film and television, and has enjoyed many other adventures and travels around the world.

In addition to acting, Lee has also been active in production as a producer/writer/director and co-owned a niche market video production company, which won the Silver Medal in the New York Film and TV Festival.

After the sale of the video company, Lee focused on the production and financing of independent features, and the creation of film, TV and theatre projects. As a single mother, she took several years off from acting to work behind the scenes which enabled raising a child alone. After that, Lee returned to acting, in addition to continuing her other interests.

Lee has been active in directing and producing live theatre. She was co-owner and performer of a critically acclaimed troupe of well-known actors and musicians who performed Western Heritage literature and music from the 1800’s. Many noted guest artists, such as the late Sam Shepard, performed with the Green River Players.

Having the unique background of being an American who trained and lived in London, Lee has returned to Europe many times to direct, perform and teach. She has enjoyed directing and performing there in such plays as LOVE LETTERS, BLITHE SPIRIT, RICHARD III, MACBETH and others.

Lee has been involved with many charitable organizations throughout her career, and some of her charity work includes Heart of a Horse, Veterans Entertainment Team, Big Brothers, Special Olympics, Paralyzed Veterans of America among many others.

She is very active in the governance of the actors union SAG-AFTRA, currently serving on its Board and several committees. She is also an active member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (OSCARS) and on various committees there.

She is also a member of The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (EMMYS), Actors Equity Association and Theatre West.

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