Purcell in September 2012
|Born||Lee Jeune Williams
June 15, 1947
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, United States
Purcell was born at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina. Her father, an aviator and Marine major, died when Purcell was a young child. She then lived with her grandparents until her mother married Navy doctor Don Purcell. She has a sister, Paige. Purcell and her family moved multiple times to different states and military bases.
After the military service ended, they eventually settled in Paragould, Arkansas, where Purcell spent most of her youth. She graduated from their high school in 1965 and attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri as a dance and theatre student. 
Purcell made her debut as a performer at five years of age, appearing on a Memphis, Tennessee TV show. After being expelled from Stephens College, Purcell arrived in California in 1967 and studied acting. Casting off her southern accent was another goal she successfully worked on. Purcell supported herself by working in commercials and selling clothes at a disco.
In 1969 Purcell was personally chosen for her first feature film by Steve McQueen in his company's production of Adam at Six A.M., co-starring Michael Douglas. Asked to explain why he picked Purcell among nearly 500 other available actresses, McQueen said...
|“||It wasn't easy. We kept narrowing down the field over a period of weeks until it came to giving screen tests to six of them. All of them were good, but Lee seemed to jump right out of the screen.||”|
In the early 1970s Purcell temporarily moved to England, studying acting in London under the private training of Professor Margot Lister. During this time she frequently returned to the United States to act in American movies and TV shows. Years later, she told a reporter..."I had a great time. I thought it was a permanent move. But I wasn't allowed to work there and it became difficult to go elsewhere to work."
Her television work included roles as Billie Dove and Olivia de Havilland in two biopic TV movies: The Amazing Howard Hughes (1977) and My Wicked, Wicked Ways...the Legend of Errol Flynn (1985).
She was nominated for two Emmy Awards. In 1991, she was nominated as Outstanding Lead Actress for Long Road Home. and in 1994 as Outstanding Supporting Actress for Secret Sins of the Father. She was co-producer, and starred in the 1998 low-budget cable-TV movie Malaika (alternate title Tons of Trouble).
She appeared together with her son Dylan Purcell in A Woman's Guide to Firearms, Malaika and The Unknown (alternate title Clawed: The Legend of Sasquatch.)
Purcell has performed narrations of poetry and fiction in front of live audiences. She is a former NRA (National Rifle Association) director and has been involved with Scientology.
Purcell is on the board of directors for Heart of a Horse, a non profit organization which seeks to rescue and rehabilitate abused and neglected horses. 
|1970||Adam at Six A.M.||Jerri Jo Hopper||Robert Scheerer|
|1972||Dirty Little Billy||Berle||Stan Dragoti|
|Stand Up and Be Counted||Karen Hammond||Jackie Cooper|
|Necromancy||Priscilla||Bert I. Gordon|
|1973||Kid Blue||Molly Ford||James Frawley|
|1974||Mr. Majestyk||Wiley||Richard Fleischer|
|1978||Big Wednesday||Peggy Gordon||John Milius|
|Almost Summer||Christine Alexander||Martin Davidson|
|1980||Stir Crazy||Susan||Sidney Poitier|
|1982||Airplane II: The Sequel||Mrs. Seluchi (Deleted Scene)||Ken Finkleman|
|Homework||Ms. Jackson||James Beshears|
|1983||Eddie Macon's Run||Jilly Buck||Jeff Kanew|
|Valley Girl||Beth Brent||Martha Coolidge|
|1985||Space Rage||Maggie||Conrad E. Palmisano|
|1996||Movies, Money, Murder||Lilah||Stephen Eckelberry, Arthur Webb|
|2005||The Unknown aka Clawed: The Legend of Sasquatch||Doris Winslow||Karl Kozak|
|2015||Kids vs Monsters||Francine Gingerfield|
|1970||Marcus Welby, M.D.||Cathy Cullen||Made a second appearance in 1972, as 'Carol Lockett'|
|The Young Rebels||Maggie Todd|
|1973||Cannon||Marian Luke||Made two additional appearances in 1975, various characters|
|Hijack||Eileen Noonan||TV movie|
|1974||Wide World Mystery||Donna|
|The Rockford Files||Susan Parsons|
|1975||The Waltons||Bobby Strom|
|Barnaby Jones||Kathy Cooper||Made a second appearance in 1977, as 'Peggy Giroux'|
|1976||Hawaii Five-O||Molly Taggert||Made a second appearance in 1977, same character|
|Jigsaw John||Virginia Sand|
|1977||The Amazing Howard Hughes||Billie Dove||TV movie|
|The Streets of San Francisco||Carol Revson|
|1978||Stranger in Our House aka Summer of Fear||Julia Trent||TV movie|
|1979||Murder in Music City aka The Country Western Murders||Samantha Hunt||TV movie|
|A Man Called Sloane||Michele Blake|
|1980||Kenny Rogers as the Gambler||Jennie Reed||TV movie|
|My Wife Next Door||Lisa Pallick||Pilot for proposed TV series|
|The Secret War of Jackie’s Girls||Casey McCann||TV movie|
|1981||The Girl, the Gold Watch and Dynamite||Bonnie Lee Beaumont||TV movie and pilot for proposed TV series|
|Killing at Hell’s Gate||Jane Pasco||TV movie|
|1982||The Phoenix||Cindy Houghton|
|1985||Magnum, P.I.||Goldie Morris|
|Murder, She Wrote||Joanna Benson||Made four additional appearances in 1986, 1989 and 1994, various characters|
|My Wicked, Wicked Ways...the Legend of Errol Flynn||Olivia de Havilland||TV movie|
|1986||Betrayed by Innocence||Sharon DeLeon||TV movie|
|1988||To Heal a Nation||Sandie||TV movie|
|The Incredible Hulk Returns||Maggie Shaw||TV movie|
|Jake and the Fatman||Pamela Parker|
|1989||Simon & Simon||Colleen Huntley/Missy Taylor|
|1990||Shades of LA||Alex Taylor|
|1991||Long Road Home||Bessie Robertson||TV movie|
|1994||Secret Sins of the Father||Ann Thielman||TV movie|
|1995||Due South||Louise St. Laurent||Made five additional appearances in 1995 and 1996, same character|
|The Magic of Christmas||Herself||Holiday special|
|1998||Promised Land||Beth Hixon|
|Malaika aka Tons of Trouble||Molly DeMornay||TV movie|
|2010||Persons Unknown||Eleanor Sullivan||Mini-series. Five appearances|
|1986||The Road to Freedom: L. Ron Hubbard and Friends||Herself (singer)||Video short and record album|
|1987||A Woman's Guide to Firearms||Herself||Instructional video|
|Your First Gun- A Family Guide To Shooting||The mother||Instructional video|
|1988||The Married Couple||Video short|
|1992||The Joke||Jane||35mm short|
|1997||This World, Then the Fireworks||ADR work (additional dialogue recording)|
|2006||White Picket Fence||Bonnie Durley||Super 16mm short|
- John Willis' Screen World, Volume 32
- About Lee Purcell
- Usgennet.org "Paragould Took Hats Off For Lee Purcell"
- Columbia Missourian January 15, 1967 “Picnic in 2nd Week at Stephens”
- “Adam Travels to Excelsior Springs”, Columbia Missourian, September 21, 1969; accessed June 14, 2015.
- Columbia Missourian November 26, 1972 “Success for Lee Purcell”, cdm.sos.mo.gov; accessed June 14, 2015.
- Filmreference.com--Lee Purcell Biography
- The Sumter Daily Item-Dec 26, 1969
- Profile, Daily News (Bowling Green, KY), May 8, 1981.
- 30 Years Ago Today: Actress Lee Purcell Remembers Her Mentor, Steve McQueen (2010 Internet interview)
- Profile, Beaver County Times, September 25, 1969.
- Sun Sentinel-Fort Lauderdale February 26, 1985
- Spotlight: Lee Purcell
- Class Actress: An Interview with Lee Purcell (2009 Internet interview)
- Profile, Times Daily, April 11, 1977.
- Profile, Lakeland Ledger, January 20, 1985.
- Profile, Sun Sentinel, July 19, 1991.
- Profile, Los Angeles Times, July 22, 1994.
- inbaseline-Lee Purcell Credits
- Profile, New York Times; accessed April 8, 2015.
- The Unknown-IMDb page
- Saint Hill International Arts Festival
- Poetic Preservation A group of actors will perform traditional and contemporary cowboy writings at the Gene Autry museum
- The Golden Age Theater
- Crossfire: The War Behind the Closed Doors of the NRA
- The Gun Zone
- Richardson, John (September 11, 1993). "The Scientology church of Hollywood". The Globe and Mail (Thomas Canada Limited): p. D5.
- About Heart of a Horse
Media related to Lee Purcell at Wikimedia Commons