Lee Chamberlin

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Lee Chamberlin
Born Alverta La Pallo
(1938-02-14)February 14, 1938
New York City, New York, U.S.[1]
Died May 25, 2014(2014-05-25) (aged 76)
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, U.S.[1]
Occupation Actress
Years active 1970–2010
Spouse(s) Daniel Edward Chamberlin (m. 1960; died 1999)[1]

Lee Chamberlin (born Alverta La Pallo;[1] February 14, 1938[1] – May 25, 2014[1]) was an American theatrical, film and television actress. She studied at NYU and The Sorbonne in Paris, France receiving honors for her mastery of French grammar both written and oral. She perfected her study of the craft of acting at HB Studios in New York and studied with Uta Hagen. She attended grammar school at Convent of the Sacred Heart School in Harlem.


Lee began her career on stage in "Slave ship" written by LeRoi Jones who would later be known as Amiri Baraka in 1968. "Do Your Own Thing" a musical loosely based on Shakespeare and "The Believers." She was cast as Cordelia to James Earl Jones King Lear in 1974 at Joseph Papp's Shakespeare in the Park Festival in New York City's Delacorte Theatre. The production also featured Raoul Julia, Ellen Holly, Rosalind Cash and Paul Sorvino. Later Chamberlin went to win half a dozen AUDELCO Awards for Excellence in Black Theatre on November 21, 1988 for the direction of her own musical play "Struttin" that was performed under the aegis of Rosetta LeNoir AMAS Repertory Theatre located on Was 104th Street. From February 10 - 14, 2010 the Kitchen Theatre Company in Ithaca, New York presented Chamberlin's one woman reading "Objects in the Mirror…(are closer than they seem) directed by Rachel Lampert. In 2011 Chamberlin founded a non profit organization Lee Chamberlin's Playwrights' Inn Project, Inc. establishing it in France to nurture the work of African American playwrights. Theatre was her first love “The reciprocity between the actor and the live audience, the immediacy of contact with them creates a living organism that breathes and pulses and makes one feel very alive.”[2]

Chamberlin was born in New York City, the daughter of Ida Roberta (née Small) and Bernando LaPallo, who is the centenarian author of “Age Less/Live More” and the world's oldest blogger.[3][4] 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) as Alex Haley's love interest played by James Earl Jones. Her first recurring role in a major television sitcom was as Lucy Daniels in "All's Fair" from 1976 yo 1977 that starred Richard Crenna and Bernandette Peters. In the 1970s she appeared on shows like "Lou Grant" starring Ed Asner, and "James at 16". In the early 1980s, she appeared as Karen Weaver "The Secrets of Midland Heights" and on the TV show "The White Shadow" (1980). Other guest spots in the 1980s included Ryan's Four and Beat Street. In 1994; she played Commander Della Thorne Viper (TV Series) In 1998 C-16: FBI (TV Series) as Professor Robinson and as Dr Timmi in The Practice (TV Series), and as Judge Leslie Battles in "To Have and To Hold". In 1999, she made guest appearances on "Moesha", NewsRadio as Mrs Leveaux. In 2000 she appeared in "City of Angels" (TV Series) and "Any Day Now" (TV Series) as Mrs. Samuels. In 2002, she appeared on "Touched by An Angel" starring Della Reese, "Judging Amy" and "First Monday" in the role of Ms. Marks.

She had a prominent role in the film Uptown Saturday Night, in which she portrayed the memorable Madame Zenobia. She also starred in the film Let's Do it Again, the follow-up film to Uptown Saturday Night. Her very first role in film was a small part in "Up the Sandbox" starring Barbra Streisand. She also appeared in several made for television movies including Long Journey Back (1978), Brave New World (1980), Once Upon A Family (1980). Her final film role was in "Habeaus Corpus" (2013) where she played Nadine in this short film directed by Booker T. Mattison

From 1983 through 1995, Chamberlin portrayed Pat Baxter, the mother of the popular character 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.

Chamberlin died of cancer at the age of 76 on May 25, 2014.[1][4]


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