Johnny Lee (actor)

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Johnny Lee
Born John Dotson Lee Jr.
(1898-07-04)July 4, 1898
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died December 12, 1965(1965-12-12) (aged 67)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Heart attack
Nationality American
Other names John D. Lee Jr.
Occupation Actor, singer, dancer
Years active 1932–1965
Spouse(s) Jenrive Lee

John Dotson Lee Jr. (July 4, 1898 – December 12, 1965) was an American singer, dancer and actor known for voicing the role of Br'er Rabbit in Disney's Song of the South (1946).[1] He is probably best remembered as the clownish, cringing, tremulous-voiced shyster pseudo-lawyer Algonquin J. Calhoun in the CBS Amos 'n' Andy TV and radio[2] comedy series in the early 1950s.

Much of his career was spent in vaudeville, but he also performed in motion pictures, on recordings and in television. He released a record (as "Johnnie Lee") in July 1949 called "You Can't Lose A Broken Heart" (Columbia Records # 30172), with backup vocals by The Ebonaires. Lee also starred in an all-black musical comedy called "Sugar Hill" in 1949 at Las Palmas Theatre in California.[3]

He died of a heart attack on December 12, 1965 age 67.[4]

Discography[edit]

  • Song of the South: Soundtrack (1946)
  • You Can't Lose a Broken Heart (released July 1949)
  • Mickey Mouse's Birthday Party[5] (1954)

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1932 The Black King Count of Zanzibar Alternative title: Harlem Hot Shot
1936 The Green Pastures Angel Uncredited
1942 Tales of Manhattan Shantytown Carpenter (Robeson sequence) Uncredited
1943 Stormy Weather Lyles Uncredited
1946 Song of the South Br'er Rabbit Voice
Mantan Runs for Mayor
1948 Boarding House Blues Stanley
The Return of Mandy's Husband
She's Too Mean for Me
Come On, Cowboy!
1951 My Forbidden Past Toy Vendor Uncredited
1952 The Narrow Margin Waiter Uncredited
1953 Ramar of the Jungle Chief Warren Episode: "Savage Fury"
1951-1953 The Amos 'n Andy Show (TV) Algonquin J. Calhoun 68 episodes
1955 Screen Directors Playhouse Simon Episode: "Lincoln's Doctor's Dog"
1956 The First Traveling Saleslady Amos Uncredited
Soldiers of Fortune Kamele Episode: "The Greater Magic"
The Adventures of Jim Bowie Israel Episode: "The Return of the Alciblade"
1957 The Spirit of St. Louis Jess - Cook at Louie's Shack Uncredited
1958 Hot Spell Colored Man Uncredited
1960 The Rat Race Janitor Uncredited
High Time Servant at Judge Carter's Ball Uncredited
North to Alaska Coachman Uncredited
1962-1963 Dennis the Menace Johnny the Locksmith
Mr. Tibbitt
2 episodes (final television appearance)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thomas S. Hischak, Mark A. Robinson The Disney Song Encyclopedia 2009 p50 "... Ray Gilbert (lyric) for the innovative musical film Song of the South (1946), which successfully mixed animation and live action. During one of the animated Uncle Remus tales, Brer Rabbit (voice of Johnny Lee), captured by Brer Fox and Brer Bear and about to be cooked, happily sings about his secret laughing place. The ploy works; Rabbit's captors let him free..."
  2. ^ Johnny Lee at Old Time Radio Database, retrieved 9/26/2017
  3. ^ Propes, Steve & Gart, Galen. L. A. R&B Vocal Groups 1945-1965. Milford, New Hampshire: Big Nickel Publications, 2001. ISBN 0-936433-18-3
  4. ^ Johnny Lee, biography, retrieved March 2011
  5. ^ "A Spin Special: Stan Freberg Records". Retrieved 2017-09-21.

External links[edit]