Lee Purcell

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Lee Purcell
Lee Purcell in September 2012.jpg
Purcell in September 2012
BornLee Jeune Williams
(1947-06-15) June 15, 1947 (age 67)
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, United States
Years active1970–present
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Not to be confused with Leah Purcell.
Lee Purcell
Lee Purcell in September 2012.jpg
Purcell in September 2012
BornLee Jeune Williams
(1947-06-15) June 15, 1947 (age 67)
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, United States
Years active1970–present

Lee Purcell (born Lee Jeune Williams; June 15, 1947) is an American actress who appeared in films of the 1970s and early 1980s including Mr. Majestyk, Big Wednesday, Stir Crazy, and Valley Girl.

Early life[edit]

Purcell was born at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina.[1] Her father, an aviator and Marine major, died when Purcell was a young child. She then lived with her grandparents[2] until her mother married Navy doctor Don Purcell. She has a sister, Paige.[3] Like many service personnel relatives, Purcell and her family moved multiple times to different states and military bases.[2] 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[3] and attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri as a dance and theatre student.[4][5][6] [7]


Purcell in 1970

Purcell made her debut as a performer at five years of age, appearing on a Memphis, Tennessee TV show.[8] After being expelled from Stephens College, Purcell[4] arrived in California in 1967[9] and studied acting. Casting off her southern accent was another goal she successfully worked on.[10] Purcell supported herself by working in commercials[7] and selling clothes at a disco.[10] 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.[11] Asked to explain why he picked Purcell among nearly 500 other available actresses, McQueen said...


Purcell at the 1994 Emmy Awards

In the early 1970s Purcell temporarily moved to England, studying acting in London[13] under the private training of Professor Margot Lister.[14] During this time she frequently returned to the United States to act in American movies and TV shows.[15] 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."[10]

Her television work included roles as Billie Dove and Olivia de Havilland in two biopic TV movies: The Amazing Howard Hughes (1977)[16] and My Wicked, Wicked Ways...the Legend of Errol Flynn (1985).[17] Purcell was nominated for two Emmy Awards. 1991 in the category of Outstanding Lead Actress for Long Road Home starring opposite Mark Harmon[18] and 1994 as Outstanding Supporting Actress for Secret Sins of the Father starring opposite Beau Bridges and Lloyd Bridges, directed by Beau Bridges.[19] She was co-producer, and starred in the 1998 low-budget cable-TV movie Malaika (alternate title Tons of Trouble.)[20][21]

Personal life[edit]

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.)[22]

Purcell has performed narrations of poetry and fiction in front of live audiences.[23][24][25] She is a former NRA (National Rifle Association) director[26][27] and has been involved with Scientology.[28]

In December 2010 Purcell launched an interactive fashion and beauty website, BoomerBabes, that is geared towards women over 40 and Baby Boomer women born between 1946-1964.[29]

Charity work[edit]

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. [30]


Feature films[edit]

1970Adam at Six A.M.Jerri Jo HopperRobert Scheerer
1972Dirty Little BillyBerleStan Dragoti
Stand Up and Be CountedKaren HammondJackie Cooper
NecromancyPriscillaBert I. Gordon
1973Kid BlueMolly FordJames Frawley
1974Mr. MajestykWileyRichard Fleischer
1978Big WednesdayPeggy GordonJohn Milius
Almost SummerChristine AlexanderMartin Davidson
1980Stir CrazySusanSidney Poitier
1982Airplane II: The SequelMrs. Seluchi (Deleted Scene)Ken Finkleman
HomeworkMs. JacksonJames Beshears
1983Eddie Macon's RunJilly BuckJeff Kanew
Valley GirlBeth BrentMartha Coolidge
1985Space RageMaggieConrad E. Palmisano
1996Movies, Money, MurderLilahStephen Eckelberry, Arthur Webb
1998DizzylandDennis Hackin
2005The Unknown aka Clawed: The Legend of SasquatchDoris WinslowKarl Kozak


1970Marcus Welby, M.D.Cathy CullenMade a second appearance in 1972, as 'Carol Lockett'
The Young RebelsMaggie Todd
1972Medical CenterLiza
1973CannonMarian LukeMade two additional appearances in 1975, various characters
HijackEileen NoonanTV movie
1974Wide World MysteryDonna
The Rockford FilesSusan Parsons
1975The WaltonsBobby Strom
Barnaby JonesKathy CooperMade a second appearance in 1977, as 'Peggy Giroux'
1976Hawaii Five-OMolly TaggertMade a second appearance in 1977, same character
Jigsaw JohnVirginia Sand
1977The Amazing Howard HughesBillie DoveTV movie
The Streets of San FranciscoCarol Revson
1978Stranger in Our House aka Summer of FearJulia TrentTV movie
1979Murder in Music City aka The Country Western MurdersSamantha HuntTV movie
A Man Called SloaneMichele Blake
1980Kenny Rogers as the GamblerJennie ReedTV movie
My Wife Next DoorLisa PallickPilot for proposed TV series
The Secret War of Jackie’s GirlsCasey McCannTV movie
1981The Girl, the Gold Watch and DynamiteBonnie Lee BeaumontTV movie and pilot for proposed TV series
Killing at Hell’s GateJane PascoTV movie
1982The PhoenixCindy Houghton
1985Magnum, P.I.Goldie Morris
Murder, She WroteJoanna BensonMade four additional appearances in 1986, 1989 and 1994, various characters
My Wicked, Wicked Ways...the Legend of Errol FlynnOlivia de HavillandTV movie
Hollywood BeatMaggie
1986Betrayed by InnocenceSharon DeLeonTV movie
1987MatlockAndrea Colter
1988To Heal a NationSandieTV movie
The Incredible Hulk ReturnsMaggie ShawTV movie
Jake and the FatmanPamela Parker
1989Simon & SimonColleen Huntley/Missy Taylor
1990Shades of LAAlex Taylor
1991Long Road HomeBessie RobertsonTV movie
1994Secret Sins of the FatherAnn ThielmanTV movie
1995Due SouthLouise St. LaurentMade five additional appearances in 1995 and 1996, same character
DazzleRedTV movie
The Magic of ChristmasHerselfHoliday special
1998Promised LandBeth Hixon
Malaika aka Tons of TroubleMolly DeMornayTV movie
2010Persons UnknownEleanor SullivanMini-series. Five appearances

Special projects[edit]

1986The Road to Freedom: L. Ron Hubbard and FriendsHerself (singer)Video short and record album
1987A Woman's Guide to FirearmsHerselfInstructional video
Your First Gun- A Family Guide To ShootingThe motherInstructional video
1988The Married CoupleVideo short
1992The JokeJane35mm short
1997This World, Then the FireworksADR work (additional dialogue recording)
2006White Picket FenceBonnie DurleySuper 16mm short


  1. ^ John Willis' Screen World, Volume 32
  2. ^ a b About Lee Purcell
  3. ^ a b Usgennet.org "Paragould Took Hats Off For Lee Purcell"
  4. ^ a b http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1917&dat=19690926&id=qeNKAAAAIBAJ&sjid=rOkMAAAAIBAJ&pg=742,5827006
  5. ^ Columbia Missourian January 15, 1967 “Picnic in 2nd Week at Stephens”
  6. ^ Columbia Missourian September 21, 1969 “Adam Travels to Excelsior Springs”
  7. ^ a b Columbia Missourian November 26, 1972 “Success for Lee Purcell”
  8. ^ Filmreference.com--Lee Purcell Biography
  9. ^ The Sumter Daily Item-Dec 26, 1969
  10. ^ a b c Daily News, Bowling Green, KY May 8, 1981
  11. ^ 30 Years Ago Today: Actress Lee Purcell Remembers Her Mentor, Steve McQueen (2010 Internet interview)
  12. ^ Beaver County Times, September 25, 1969
  13. ^ Sun Sentinel-Fort Lauderdale February 26, 1985
  14. ^ Spotlight: Lee Purcell
  15. ^ Class Actress: An Interview with Lee Purcell (2009 Internet interview)
  16. ^ Times Daily April 11, 1977
  17. ^ Lakeland Ledger January 20, 1985
  18. ^ SunSentinel July 19, 1991
  19. ^ Los Angeles Times-Emmy Award Nominations July 22, 1994
  20. ^ inbaseline-Lee Purcell Credits
  21. ^ New York Times, production credits--Tons of Trouble
  22. ^ The Unknown-IMDb page
  23. ^ Saint Hill International Arts Festival
  24. ^ Poetic Preservation A group of actors will perform traditional and contemporary cowboy writings at the Gene Autry museum
  25. ^ The Golden Age Theater
  26. ^ Crossfire: The War Behind the Closed Doors of the NRA
  27. ^ The Gun Zone
  28. ^ Richardson, John (September 11, 1993). "The Scientology church of Hollywood". The Globe and Mail (Thomas Canada Limited): p. D5.
  29. ^ BoomerBabes.com
  30. ^ About Heart of a Horse

External links[edit]

Media related to Lee Purcell at Wikimedia Commons