Dave Lee (comedian)

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Dave Lee
Birth name David Legge[1]
Born 1947[2]
Broadstairs, Kent, England
Died 16 January 2012 (aged 64)
Medium Pantomime
Nationality British

David Legge MBE (1947 – 16 January 2012), known as Dave Lee, was a British comedian known for his work in pantomimes around Kent and his work on television. Lee also founded his own charity to help disadvantaged children.


Lee was born in Broadstairs. At the age of five he suffered a bout of tuberculosis and later on, Lee also suffered from a burst appendix, peritonitis, pleurisy, double pneumonia and had his tonsils and adenoids out. Subsequently Lee was sent to a convalescent home in Margate and disliked the idea.[3]

He began his career as a drummer at the Chartham Secondary Modern School at the age of 13. He worked as a warm-up man for Michael Parkinson, Michael Aspel and Jimmy Tarbuck.[4] He also appeared on television on the shows The Generation Game, Celebrity Squares, Live from the Palladum and had his own golfing series.[5] Lee was also a non-executive director of Gillingham F.C., having been a fan of the club.[6]

In 1994, Lee founded the Dave Lee Happy Holidays Charity. During his lifetime, it raised £2 million for many of Kent's sick, disabled and under-privileged children to enjoy holidays and outings with their families. In the 2003 New Year Honours, Lee was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), for services to the community in Kent.[7][8]

Illness and death[edit]

On 9 November 2011, it was announced that Lee had pulled out of the pantomime for Cinderella due to his ailing health days before the rehearsals began. In his absence Lee's role was rewritten and filled by Sion Tudor Owen.[9]

On 10 January 2012, the Canterbury announced that Lee would be given the Freedom of the City.[8] Lee died six days later of pancreatic cancer, age 64.[10] His funeral was held at Canterbury Cathedral on 30 January 2012 with fellow comedians Jim Davidson, Richard Digance, and the Lord Mayor of Canterbury in attendance.[5]

He received the Freedom of the City posthumously.[11]


A bronze statue of Lee was unveiled outside the Marlowe Theatre in May 2014.[12]


  1. ^ "Funeral of Kent panto legend Dave Lee to be held at Canterbury Cathedral today". Kent Live. 30 January 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2017. 
  2. ^ England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2005
  3. ^ "Comic Dave Lee's kids charity has now raised £2 million". This is Kent. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  4. ^ "Cathedral funeral for Kent comic and panto star Dave Lee". BBC News (BBC). 25 January 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Hundreds attend Dave Lee's funeral in Canterbury". BBC News (BBC). 30 January 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  6. ^ Horn, Jenni (17 January 2012). "Gillingham FC chairman pays tribute to comedian Dave Lee". Medway Messenger. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "No. 56797". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2002. p. 19. 
  8. ^ a b "Dave Lee to receive Freedom of the City". Canterbury City Council. 10 January 2012. Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "Comic Dave Lee quits Cinderella panto after shock health warning". This is Kent. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  10. ^ "Tributes to Kent comedian and pantomime star Dave Lee". BBC News (BBC). 17 January 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  11. ^ Hill, Ed (18 January 2012). "Comedian Dave Lee still to be given freedom of Canterbury". Kent News. Retrieved 30 July 2017. 
  12. ^ "Bronze statue of panto legend Dave Lee unveiled outside the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, watched by Richard Digance, Brenda Blethyn and Joe Pasquale". KentOnline. 2 May 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 

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