London Lee

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London Lee
London Lee.png
London Lee in the late 1980s
Born London Alan Levine
February 4, 1935
Died September 29, 2015(2015-09-29) (aged 80)
Deerfield Beach, Florida
Nationality American
Other names "Poor Little Rich Kid"
Occupation Comedian, TV personality
Known for Comedy

London Alan Levine, better known as London Lee, (February 4, 1935 – September 29, 2015) was an American stand-up comedian and actor.

Early life[edit]

Lee was born London Alan Levine, and lived in Closter, New Jersey.[1] He claimed that he was born in London, England while his parents were on vacation, and that he was named after that city.[2][3][4] His father was Mike Levine, a wealthy New York garment manufacturer.[5] 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.[6][2]

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.[6]

Career[edit]

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."[4] 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."[7]

He appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, in the early 1960s[7] 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."[8] Lee made more than 200 TV appearances, including 32 on the Sullivan program.[9][10]

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.[11]

In the 1960s Lee played in celebrity golf tournaments, including the WNEW/Billboard International in 1968.[12]

In his stage appearances, Lee shared the stage with Diana Ross, Ella Fitzgerald, Lou Rawls, Sammy Davis Jr., and other major performers. [13] [14]

Lee had a supporting role in the 1974 film The Gambler, starring James Caan.[15] He claimed that he was cast in the Woody Allen film Broadway Danny Rose but that his scenes were cut out.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Lee was divorced three times.[7] In his final years he resided in Deerfield Beach, Florida.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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."
  2. ^ a b "My Favorite Jokes, by London Lee". Independent Star-News. 20 November 1966. p. 136. Retrieved 18 June 2017 – via Newspapers.com. Free to read
  3. ^ Battelle, Phyllis (16 September 1965). "Comic London Lee Had Rich Father". Cumberland Evening Times. p. 10. Retrieved 18 June 2017 – via Newspapers.com. Free to read
  4. ^ a b 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. Free to read
  5. ^ 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.  Free to read
  6. ^ a b "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. Free to read
  7. ^ a b c d Berliner, Neil (Dec 15, 2011). "London Lee: The ‘Rich Kid’ is Back!". Stage Time Magazine. Stage Time. Retrieved 18 June 2017. 
  8. ^ Staff (May 1, 1965). "Signings". Billboard Magazine. Cincinnati, Ohio: Billboard Publications, Inc: 12. 
  9. ^ Staff (1969). "Ed Sullivan Show listing". CUE magazine. Cue Magazine. 38 (40-52): 52. Retrieved 1 February 2011. 
  10. ^ Smith, Ron (1988), Comedy on record: the complete critical discography, Garland Publ., p. 373 
  11. ^ Kubey, Robt. William (2004). Creating television: ... London, England: Psychology Press. p. 227. 
  12. ^ Staff (May 25, 1968). "WNEW and BB Golf: Swinger all the way". Billboard Magazine. Cincinnati, Ohio: Billboard Publications: 6. 
  13. ^ Staff Writer (March 11, 1969), "Morning", Hartford Courant, retrieved 1 February 2011 
  14. ^ "Byline Ball Tonite", The New York Times, November 2, 1963 
  15. ^ Maltin, Leonard (1991). Leonard Maltin's TV movies and video guide. Penguin Books. pp. 414 of 1330. 

External links[edit]