London Lee in the late 1980s
|Born||London Alan Levine
February 4, 1935
|Died||September 29, 2015
Deerfield Beach, Florida
|Other names||"Poor Little Rich Kid"|
|Occupation||Comedian, TV personality|
London Alan Levine, better known as London Lee, (February 4, 1935 – September 29, 2015) was an American stand-up comedian and actor.
Lee was born London Alan Levine, and lived in Closter, New Jersey. He claimed that he was born in London, England while his parents were on vacation, and that he was named after that city. His father was Mike Levine, a wealthy New York garment manufacturer. After graduating from New York University with a degree in psychology, he began work as a dress salesman for his father's company. He disliked the work and started his own record company, U.S.A. Records, which failed.
After the record venture ended he took a succession of other jobs, including music publisher, personal manager and clothing manufacturer, interspersed with working for his father. He moved to Los Angeles, working as a cab driver by day and a dishwasher by night. One night he told jokes to a group of friends, and was encouraged to perform on-stage.
His comedy routines were based on his being a kid from a wealthy family, He used to joke that his father was so wealthy that he bought a new yacht "when the old one got wet," that he "wrote out a check so big the bank bounced," and that his house was so large that "when it was 3 o'clock in the kitchen it was 12 o'clock in the bedroom." Another of his favorite lines was "I was a lonely kid, so my father bought me a German Shepherd to play with. Not a dog."
He appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, in the early 1960s and in 1965, he was signed by United Artists Records to record three comedy albums and a number of singles,"the first of which was to be "The Teenage Defender's Marching Song." Lee made more than 200 TV appearances, including 32 on the Sullivan program.
Lee was a favorite guest on the talk-show circuit, appearing 82 times on The Merv Griffin Show, as well as with Johnny Carson, Steve Allen, David Frost, Della Reese, Mike Douglas, Joey Bishop, and Sammy Davis, Jr.. In the 1970s, he also released a comedy album entitled "The Rich Kid." Some of his material was written by comedy writer, Bob Ellison.
In the 1960s Lee played in celebrity golf tournaments, including the WNEW/Billboard International in 1968.
Lee was divorced three times. In his final years he resided in Deerfield Beach, Florida.
- Kraushar, Jonathan P. "Bergen: Comics' Haven", The New York Times, March 21, 1976. Accessed December 17, 2012. "For London Lee, for example, a resident of Closter, his childhood as a 'poor, little rich boy' provided him meat for his act for many years."
- "My Favorite Jokes, by London Lee". Independent Star-News. 20 November 1966. p. 136. Retrieved 18 June 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Battelle, Phyllis (16 September 1965). "Comic London Lee Had Rich Father". Cumberland Evening Times. p. 10. Retrieved 18 June 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Kilgallen, Dorothy (12 September 1964). "Even Rich Comedian Can Become Success, by London Lee (Guest Column)". The Oneonta Star. p. 14. Retrieved 18 June 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Wilson, Earl (December 24, 1970). "Wilson's Broadway: London Lee Thrives on 'Rich Kid' Jokes". The Ottawa Journal. p. 17. Retrieved June 18, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Comic Asks Recognition For The Overprivileged". The Oil City Derrick. The Associated Press. 5 October 1968. p. 12. Retrieved June 18, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Berliner, Neil (Dec 15, 2011). "London Lee: The ‘Rich Kid’ is Back!". Stage Time Magazine. Stage Time. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
- Staff (May 1, 1965). "Signings". Billboard Magazine. Cincinnati, Ohio: Billboard Publications, Inc: 12.
- Staff (1969). "Ed Sullivan Show listing". CUE magazine. Cue Magazine. 38 (40-52): 52. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
- Smith, Ron (1988), Comedy on record: the complete critical discography, Garland Publ., p. 373
- Kubey, Robt. William (2004). Creating television: ... London, England: Psychology Press. p. 227.
- Staff (May 25, 1968). "WNEW and BB Golf: Swinger all the way". Billboard Magazine. Cincinnati, Ohio: Billboard Publications: 6.
- Staff Writer (March 11, 1969), "Morning", Hartford Courant, retrieved 1 February 2011
- "Byline Ball Tonite", The New York Times, November 2, 1963
- Maltin, Leonard (1991). Leonard Maltin's TV movies and video guide. Penguin Books. pp. 414 of 1330.