TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (3)
|Also Known As:||Joan Boniface Winnifrith||Died:||May 14, 2004|
|Born:||January 2, 1913||Cause of Death:||died of pneumonia|
|Birth Place:||Kent, England, GB||Profession:||Cast ... actor|
For her American film debut, Anna Lee was required to darken her naturally blonde hair by order of "Seven Sinners" (1941) star Marlene Dietrich, whose ego could handle no competition from the blue-eyed, surpassingly lovely British actress. While posing no threat to Hollywood's A-list leading ladies, Lee kept busy in the ensuing years, backing John Wayne in "The Flying Tigers" (1942) and Boris Karloff in "Bedlam" (1946) while proving a valuable addition to John Ford's stock company, beginning with the Academy Award-winning "How Green Was My Valley" (1944). Shifting to character parts in middle age and focusing on television work to allow time with her family, Lee contributed a string of wry cameo appearances to such features as "The Prize" (1962), "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" (1964), and "The Sound of Music" (1965). Most often seen as the epitome of prudence and purity, she enjoyed playing the occasional bad girl - the perfidious wife of Warner Baxter's "Prison Warden" (1949), the benighted Lady Constance of "Jack the Giant Killer" (1962), and the distaff supervillain of "In Like Flint" (1967). At age 65, Lee began a long association with the ABC soap opera "General Hospital" (1963- ), playing matriarch Lila Quartermaine for 26 years, even after a 1982 automobile accident put her in a wheelchair for life. Lee's death in 2004 capped a 70-year career in film, bequeathing to movie lovers the legacy of an actress with the soul of a character player and the face of a movie star.
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