Sophie Lee (born 7 August 1968) is an Australian film, stage and television actress and author.
Lee worked as a model early in her career, both in Australia and Japan appearing in print and on TV. Her first feature film was Raw Silk in 1988.
She first rose to fame in 1990 for hosting The Bugs Bunny Show on Australian TV. The show provoked controversy through her wardrobe, which was publicised as "middle-aged men... rush home from work in time to watch Sophie throw to Bugs Bunny cartoons". The Nine Network series, which had previously not been hosted, featured Bugs Bunny and other Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons, plus occasional other material, such as an interview between Sophie and Kylie Minogue. She was cast by executive producer David Lyle out of 150 candidates. In 1991, Lee started playing the ongoing role of Penny Wellings in the drama series The Flying Doctors.
Also that year Lee, on saxophone and vocals, formed a pop group, Freaked Out Flower Children, with Gumpy Phillips on lead vocals and guitar (ex-Battle Happy); Tricky J as synthesiser programmer; Nicole Love on backing vocals; and Fiona Ruttelle on backing vocals. In December that year the group issued their sole album, Love In, which Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, found was "full of syncopated beats and breezy melodies wrapped around tunes". The group's debut single, "Spill the Wine", was a cover version of Eric Burdon and War's 1970 hit. Freaked Out Flower Children's version reached No. 31 on the ARIA Singles Chart but by 1993 the group had disbanded "the concept had run its course ... [as the] retro-cabaret and day-glo focus of the ensemble ... did little to foster a sense of longevity".
Lee has acted in a number of iconic films, including the Australian comedies Muriel's Wedding, Bootmen and The Castle as well as cult films such as He Died with a Felafel in His Hand and Titsiana Booberini. She is a patron of "Big Screen" at the National Film and Sound Archive.
For her performance in the 1997 film The Castle, Lee was nominated for the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Supporting Actress
Lee has appeared in a number of stage productions, including Mr Kolpert with the Sydney Theatre Company and the title role in "The Virgin Mim".
She has now branched into writing, releasing a book in 2007 titled "Alice in La La Land" through Random House publishing. The book is inspired by her time spent in Hollywood. Also in 2007, she became a columnist for "Sunday Magazine". In 2009 Sophie released her first children's novel titled "Edie Amelia and the Monkey Shoe Mystery", a story for 7+ year olds, published by Pan Macmillan. The second title in the series is "Edie Amelia and The Runcible River Fever".
Born in Newcastle, New South Wales, her family did not have a TV in the house, as her father, a philosophy professor at the University of Newcastle, preferred more intellectual pursuits. She attended the local public school in Dudley, Newcastle, and St Mary's Convent school. She completed year 12 at St Francis Xavier College, Hamilton, in 1986, achieving academic excellence. She appeared in a school production of "Frankenstein", playing Baron Frankenstein. She moved to Sydney at age 18 for her career. When working at GTV-9 in the early 1990s, she lived in St Kilda, Victoria.
In 2002 she married Anthony Freedman. The couple have a daughter, Edie, and two sons, Tom and Jack.
In popular culture
- Australian band TISM's song "Get Thee to a Nunnery" was specifically about Sophie Lee, mentioning her by name.
- 23 June 2009 Lee appeared on the Australian Television show Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation as a member of the 'Generation X' team.
- TV Hits Sophie Lee Collect-a-Card
- Lunch of Blood by Antonella Gambotto. pp160-171. ISBN 0-09-182871-6 Random House.
- McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Freaked Out Flower Children'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 3 August 2004. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Hung, Steffen. "Discography Freaked-Out Flower Children". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- Sophie Lee article at the Museum of Broadcast Communications.
- Big Screen Patron Archived 21 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- Plenty of Lee way Sun Herald 6 Aug 2002 (Virgin Mim)
- Natgeo Presents with Sophie Lee" Pronetis
- Alice in La La Land review The Age Melbourne
- Sophie Lee returns to television TV Tonight
- Sophie Lee writes her own rival to life as an actor, by Fran Metcalf, 6 November 2009, Courier Mail Interview
- Connolly, Paul (31 October 2005). "The Many Faces of Mick". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 November 2018.