Lee Bass is one of four brothers who inherited a family fortune created by their oil baron uncle Sid Richardson. He graduated from Yale University in 1979 and received a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1982.
In 1989, Governor William P. Clements, Jr. appointed him to a six-year term as a commissioner of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. In 1995, Governor George W. Bush named him Chairman and reappointed him for another six years. In 2001, he was named Chairman-Emeritus by Governor Rick Perry. He is the primary steward of the historic El Coyote Longhorn Ranch in Kingsville, Texas.
He serves on the boards of the Sid W. Richardson Foundation, The Peregrine Fund, and Vanderbilt University. He is a founding director of the International Rhino Foundation, and Chairman Emeritus of the Board of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.
In 1991, under the presidency of Benno C. Schmidt, Jr., he donated $20 million to Yale University to start a new program in Western civilization. However, in 1995, under the presidency of Richard C. Levin, the gift was returned and the program canceled. In 1993, he also founded the Lee and Ramona Bass Foundation with his wife. In 2009-2010, the foundation donated $700,000 to the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. A Republican, he has supported George W. Bush, George Allen, Phil Gramm, John McCain, and Kay Bailey Hutchison. He has also donated $159,760 to Rick Perry.
He is married to Ramona Seeligson of San Antonio; they have three children, Sophie (married to Matthew Crommett in Fort Worth on 12-16-12), Perry and Ramona (nickname Ramoncita or "Cita"). As of September 2011, he is the 595th richest person in the world, and the 220th richest in the United States, with an estimated wealth of US$2.1 billion. He lives in Fort Worth, Texas.
- Forbes profile
- NNDB profile
- Texas Parks & Wildlife Commissioners
- Vanderbilt Board of Trustees
- El Coyote ranch
- Walker Duncan, 'Vanderbilt adds four new board members', on NashvillePost.com, May 12, 2009 
- Tyler Hill, 'Bass money funds Univ.', in Yale Daily News, November 3, 2006 
- Stephen Balch, 'The Route to Academic Pluralism', in The Politically Correct University: Problems, Scope, and Reforms, Robert Maranto (ed.), Richard E. Redding (ed.), Frederick M. Hess (ed.), Washington, D.C.: The AEI Press, 2009, p. 234
- Lee and Ramona Bass Foundation
- Foundation 2009 grants
- Clare O'Connor, 'Rick Perry For President? Meet 24 Billionaires Who've Backed Him', in Forbes Magazine, 7/20/2011