|Born||Alverta Elise La Pallo
February 14, 1938
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||May 25, 2014
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Daniel Edward Chamberlin (m. 1960; died 1999)|
Chamberlin was born in 1938 in New York City. She was the daughter of Ida Roberta (née Small) (1909-1993) and Bernando LaPallo (1901–2015) the centenarian author of Age Less/Live More, who claimed he was born in 1901, but documentation indicates sometime between 1907 and 1910.
She attended elementary school at Our Lady of Lourdes in Harlem, and Cathedral High School in Mid-town Manhattan. Later she studied at NYU and the Sorbonne in Paris. She went on to study acting at HB Studios in New York and with Uta Hagen.
Lee began her career in 1968 on in Slave ship, a stage production based on the outline of LeRoi Jones later known as Amiri Baraka. She appeared at The Orpheum Theatre in a musical production called Do Your Own Thing based on the Shakespearean play 12th Night and in an off Broadway production "The Believers". She played Cordelia opposite James Earl Jones's King Lear in 1974 in the Delacorte Theatre at the New York Shakespeare in the Park Festival. Later, Chamberlin went to win six AUDELCO Awards for Excellence in Black Theater on November 21, 1988, for her musical play Struttin’, performed at the Rosetta LeNoire AMAS Repertory Theater. She also appeared in the play Hospice produced at The Henry Street Settlent Theatre in New York City. She wrote and acted in her one-woman play Objects in the Mirror are Closer than They Seem first as a reading in Miami Florida and later in 2010 as part of The Kitchen Theatre's Counter series in Ithaca, NY from February 10 through 14 in a sold out run. The play was directed by Rachel Lampert. Chamberlin founded a non-profit organization called Lee Chamberlin's Playwrights' Inn Project Inc., establishing it in France to nurture the work of African American playwrights.
Chamberlin was a regular performer during the first two years of the esteemed series The Electric Company, and she made guest appearances in the television series What's Happening!!, Diff'rent Strokes, and NYPD Blue. In 1979, she played the wife of James Earl Jones's character on the short-lived police drama Paris. Most notably she played Odile Harris in Roots: The Next Generations (1979). Her first recurring role in a major television sitcom was as Lucy Daniels in "All's Fair" from 1976 to 1977. In the 1970s she appeared on shows like "Lou Grant" and "James at 16". In the early 1980s, she appeared as Karen Weaver in The Secrets of Midland Heights and also appeared in The White Shadow. Other guest spots in the 1980s included Ryan's Four and Beat Street. In 1994; she played Commander Della Thorne in Viper. In 1998 she played Dr Timmi in The Practice, and Judge Leslie Battles in To Have and To Hold. In 1999, she made guest appearances on Moesha and NewsRadio as Mrs Leveaux. In 2000 she appeared in City of Angels and Any Day Now as Mrs. Samuels. In 2002, she appeared on Touched by An Angel, Judging Amy and First Monday in the role of Ms. Marks. From 1982 to 1990, Chamberlin played Pat Baxter, the mother of Angela Baxter Hubbard on the ABC soap opera All My Children. In 1997, she appeared in Sparks (TV Series) as Abigail and in "Diagnosis Murder" (TV Series) as Judge Gwen Mosford.
Her first role in film was a small part in Up the Sandbox starring Barbra Streisand. She had a prominent role as Madame Zenobia in the film Uptown Saturday Night and the follow-up Let's Do it Again. She also appeared in several television films including Long Journey Back (1978), Brave New World (1980), and Once Upon A Family (1980). Her final film role was in the short film "Habeaus Corpus" (2013), directed by Booker T. Mattison.
- Slotnick, Daniel E. (1 June 2014). "Lee Chamberlin, 'Electric Company' Actress, Dies at 76". The New York Times.
- "Lee Chamberlin Biography". www.filmreference.com. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
- Staff (May 29, 2014). "Actress and Playwright Lee Chamberlin Passes Away at 76". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
- Pugh, Megan. "Lee Chamberlin Premier at The Kitchen - The Lansing Star Online". www.lansingstar.com. Retrieved 2015-09-02.