China Lee

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China Lee
Playboy centerfold appearance
August 1964
Preceded by Melba Ogle
Succeeded by Astrid Schulz
Personal details
Born (1942-09-02) September 2, 1942 (age 74)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.[1]
Measurements Bust: 35"[1]
Waist: 22"
Hips: 35"
Height 5 ft 4.5 in (1.64 m)[1]
Weight 112 lb (51 kg; 8.0 st)

China Lee, born Margaret Lee, (born September 2, 1942)[1] is an American model and actress. She was Playboy's Playmate of the Month for the August 1964 issue, and the first Asian American Playmate. Her centerfold was photographed by Pompeo Posar.[1] According to her Playmate profile, her name is pronounced "chee-na" to rhyme with "Tina".

Early life[edit]

Lee was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Chinese parents who had emigrated to the United States after their marriage. The family owned a laundry. She is the youngest of eight children and the younger sister of Harry Lee, who served as the sheriff of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana for about 28 years.[2] The name "China" is derived from the nickname "Chinita" ("little Chinese girl") bestowed on her by Spanish-speaking neighbors who admired her dancing as a child.


Lee worked as a hairstylist and waitress, then as a Playboy Club Bunny, before appearing in Playboy. She had been a "Training Bunny," which required her to travel to different Playboy Clubs to teach prospective Bunnies their duties.

Lee appeared at the end of Woody Allen's What's Up, Tiger Lily?, performing a striptease.

Personal life[edit]

She married comedian Mort Sahl in 1967. They divorced in 1991. Their only child, Mort Sahl, Jr. died on March 27, 1996 at the age of 19.[3]

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Playmate data". Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  2. ^ Feng, Rex (12 November 2007). "Showdown With The ‘Chinese Cowboy’: Wrangling with the legacy of late Louisiana Sheriff Harry Lee". AsianWeek. Archived from the original on 5 October 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  3. ^ Army Archerd (June 21, 1996). "Copperfield Act Could Blow Away Auds". Variety. Retrieved 2006-11-09. Mort Sahl, "picking up the pieces" since the March 27 death of his son, Mort Jr., returns to the stage, with a four-week stand at the Tiffany, starting July 17. 

External links[edit]