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PRESSED BETWEEN THE PAGES OF MY
I'm afraid I've been reading the obituaries again, but this time one of the
notices hit closer to home for me. On Friday, May 14th, British
actress, Anna Lee, died of pneumonia in hospital in Los Angeles. She
was ninety-one at the time of her death.
I knew the lady as Mrs. Nathan, widow of my old friend, novelist Robert
Nathan. It was through him that she and I became acquainted back
around 1976. In those days I was one of the editors of a science
fiction fan magazine (known as a fanzine) called "QUANTUM." While our
circulation was relatively small, we had a diverse readership, with
subscriptions from the all over the United States and Canada to England and
France; from Germany and Poland to Czechoslovakia and Russia; from Australia
and Sri Lanka to Singapore and Japan. Our contributors ranged from
unknown fans looking for their first break, to old timers such as Robert
Bloch, Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison, Arthur C. Clark, and, even, the
long-retired but fondly remembered Robert Nathan.
You may remember Mr. Nathan's name if you were ever a fan of old films from
the late 30's and early 40's, because a number of his novels were adapted
for the screen. One of those was "A Portrait Of Jenny," and the film
adaptation of his novel "The Bishop's Wife" starred Cary Grant, David Niven,
and Loretta Young. He was quite the prolific writer, with something in
the neighborhood of eighty or ninety novels to his name.
Our exchanges began due to a review we had published from one of my
co-editors, Art Metzger. Art felt that Nathan's work was too good
to allow it to be forgotten, so he wrote a review of one of the old novels
and presented it just as if it was fresh off the presses. Apparently
our influence was just enough to get some word-of-mouth going, because Mr.
Nathan later told me that he credited us with a spur in new sales of those
of his novels which were still in print. Out of the sheer goodness of
his heart, he gave us first-publishing rights on two short stories of his
which had never seen the light of day. We were inundated with letters
from jealous editors of other magazines who were ready to pledge their
firstborn for the tiny favor of giving them his mailing address. As I
had promised to protect his privacy, I politely refused to give out the
address. However, I did re-direct their attention to his current
publisher, so I assume that some of them must have written him via that
source because he said that his mail had definitely increased after his
appearance in our magazine.
For quite a while, our exchanges were only via the mails. Then I started
calling periodically, and it was with that first call that I made the
acquaintance of his lovely wife. She greeted me quite graciously on
the phone. "Oh, hello, Mr. Curry. My husband has told me so much
about you," she said. I remember her commenting, "You have no idea how
much he enjoys your letters. At our time of life, with our careers
winding down, so many people seem to forget that you're even around anymore,
and I wanted you to know that your letters really give him a lift."
Later on, as I was talking with Mr. Nathan, I made the comment that Mrs.
Nathan's voice had sounded very familiar to me, but I had refrained from
saying so because I didn't want to seem rude. He chuckled and said,
that I may have remembered her voice from films. "I don't suppose," he
said, "that you're a fan of soap operas?" I said that I wasn't.
He then informed me that for a number of years, she had been one of the
stars of the soap opera "General Hospital" as the character Lila
Quartermaine. I was flabbergasted. While I don't watch the
soaps, I had seen newspaper photographs and the occasional tv ad for the
show and recognized her from those. "So," I said, "your wife is Anna
Lee?" He was delighted that I knew of her work.
"Well, no wonder I recognized her voice," I said. "I've had a crush on
your wife since I was twelve-years-old and first saw her as Bronwyn in 'How
Green Was My Valley'." He laughed out loud at that. "You and
every other adolescent boy in the western world who has seen that film."
Anna Lee, known in England as "the British bombshell" when she was on stage
tours with the London Repertory Theater, must be one of the most beautiful
actresses that ever came out of England. With her naturally glowing
blond hair (so fair that it was almost white), a lovely face and figure,
eyes to die for, and a voice as soft and gentle as a British summer breeze,
she turned heads and broke hearts across half the world. And like her
contemporary, Loretta Young, she aged with such grace that, even in her
later years, you could never forget nor fail to see the same beauty that you
had known from films she had made in her youth. Perhaps that was
because she never lost that graciousness, beauty, and gentle
spirit that comes from deep inside where the real person lives.
It was in early 1979 that Mr. Nathan was stricken by a virulent strain of
influenza. At his age (mid-70's), it was particularly tough to recover
from such an attack. In the early 80's, he finally succumbed to its
effects, and I wound up losing contact with Mrs. Nathan shortly thereafter.
Oh, for a while there I had continued to call, and she was still the most
gracious of ladies. But he had been the love of her life for over
forty years by the time he died, and I began to feel that, just perhaps, my
calls were less a welcome visit than a painful reminder of what she had lost
when she lost him.
Somehow, I think I know that they're now re-united ... if, indeed, they were
ever really separated at all. And I know that if I were able to put
through a phone call to where they are now, I would still hear her answer,
"Oh, hello, Mr. Curry, it's so very thoughtful of you to call."
deepest condolences to to her family, as well as to her General Hospital
family, with whom she spent so many many years.
I have watched the show since it's first airing, and tape it every day while at
work and watch it over my dinner...
She will truly be missed. Anna IS Lila....and Lila IS Anna.
i will miss anna she was an inspiration to us all now who's
gonna keep those Q's in line i will miss her very much
I just found out
yesterday about her death and I'm truly saddened by her passing. She was a
Lovely, Classy, and a Superb Actress. The way ABC treated her was unfair and
just plain WRONG! General Hospital will never be the same now that Anna has
passed. To Anna Lee's Family I'm so sorry for your loss and you all will be
in my prayers. Anna will never be forgotten, she was the best, and No One
can ever replace her.
I will miss you Anna!
Love Always and Forever,
will I miss Anna because she was a special grandmother on General Hospital,
but I loved her in The Sound of Music, as well. I will always remember how
kind she was to everyone on General Hospital. To her son, you were lucky to
have such a lovely person for a mother.
Sincerely, JoAnne in Ca.
Hi my name is Stella. I watched Anna, for more than
25 years. I remember racing home from Jr high to watch. Alas only part of
the show then and then high school half of the show. Adult years raising my
kids they know her as Lila. My family sends their respects to Anna's
(lila's) family. I am really ashamed of how abc treated her in the past. She
is now with God. Rest in Peace dear dear women. Blessings, stella in ca.
ABC sucks for how they treated her. Too many big businesses are doing this
to older people - just before people retire they can them so they don't have
to pay pensions. Everything for the almighty dollar. WRONG!!
I really loved Anna playing Lila. It was so nice to see the children coming over
and how much she loved them, and they loved her. I loved watching her tell
Edward where to go and how far. That was a hoot and she is the only one who
could keep him in line. We have a new star in heaven, her name is Anna Lee. Like
Oprah says, when someone dies, we have an angel we know. I hope she is at peace
now. Love and sympathy to her family. I loved her like my grandma and I'm sad to
see her go. I bet she is dancing now. - Jean
I have been a fan of General
Hospital for 25 years. I loved Lila! She was the best Quartermaine, no one
could ever say that they hated all of the Q's because everyone loved Lila.
Her scenes with all of the men (Edward, Sonny, Luke, Jason, Jax, etc.) have
always been so fun to watch. You could tell that she just melted the hearts
of all of the men so ever spoke to. Jason even visited Lila even when he
wouldn't speak to the rest of the family. That was just so typical of her
effect on everyone, I'm sure in real life she had everyone eating out of her
hands because she was so lovable! I cryed when I heard the news, I know so
many people will miss her so much. My heart goes out to all of her family
and friends please let them know they are in our prayers! This could be such
a great storyline for GH (it's sad that it comes from such a tragedy). The
Q's could just all start causing such trouble since they don't have Lila to
keep them in line. They should definitely have a wonderful memorial for her
and bring back some old favorites for the funeral, she deserves a wonderful
tribute. Afterwards the grief could cause Edward, Tracey, Ned, Skye and A.J.
to all start drinking and causing all kinds of trouble! Lila was their
conscience and I wish she was able to come back as an angel to help them
through everything (maybe they could find old clips of her telling them to
be good so we could still see her smiling face!) God bless Anna, her family
and her friends! Heaven has a very special angel.
Loyal soap fan
I was very sad to hear of the passing of Ms. Lee. I met her only
once briefly, when my Father, (now-retired British character actor Ivor
Barry) shot a pilot ("The Princess and Me" starring Barbara Hershey)with her
in the late sixties. It was a special thrill for me to meet this lovely
lady,because I was named after the character she played in "How Green Was My
Valley";and I still have her autograph,which she signed "To Bronwen, with
love from 'Bronwen"-- and Anne Lee." Sincere condolences to all her family
and loving friends...
I have just recently gotten a computer so am still new to
all the sites that I can access. I entered Anna Lee in the search and your
site was the first one I clicked onto. Your website was very interesting and
informative. I am very sad that Ms. Lee has passed away. After watching her
on General Hospital, I would look for her in the other roles that she played
-- Fort Apache and other movies. She was very beautiful and had not seemed
to change very much over the years. I agree with your assessment of how ABC
treated her. I was very disappointed that she would not be appearing
anymore. Not everyone who watches General Hospital is interested in who is
going to hop into bed with whom. Thank you for your website. Donna
so sorry to hear about the passing of Anna Lee. She was defitnitly the best
actress on Tv. Anna Lee will be truly missed on general hospital. My
thoughts & prayers are with her Family, friends & the cast of general
My deepest sympathy is with Anna Lee's family. A few days before she
passed, I was telling my co-worker of how Ms. Lee was brought to the
harshness of age discrimination, in my opinion, and then my best friend
emailed me on 5/17/04 with the news that she had passed away. I started to
cry at work as I read the obituary because she was such a beloved person, in
all aspects of life.
In many ways, her on-screen persona and the parallels of Lila and Edward
reminded me of my own grandmother and grandfather, one might say my grandparents
are modeled after Lila & Edward or vice versa.
Anna was a formidable woman, who had grace, dignity, and style. She will be
missed, but all of us here on this board know that she is now watching over all
of the people that loved her most, including her devoted fans, she will not be
My prayers and blessings are to her family during this time of grief.
I have watched GH for 15+ years and have always love Anna Lee
as Lila. She was very inspiring to how she always seen the best in everyone,
(including Tracy). When ABC fired Anna without notice, I was devastated. But
Anna came out the winner by not retaliating against ABC. I will always
remember her sweetness and kindness to all.
Anna, you will be missed.
Michelle Jumper Springfield, MO
Anna Lee was truly a wonderful lady. She
touched the hearts of every fan of hers and i could only imagine how hard it
is for her loved ones. All my heart and prayers to Anna's family for you
have the courage to get through this unbelievable hard time. God bless you.
Anna Lee was such a graceful woman with class and elegance and a heart of
gold. I looked up to her and wished and hoped to grow up to be a half of how
she turned out. She is someone who can never be replaced and though i didnt
know her personally i felt as though she was my own grandmother becuase she
mad all her fans feel as though she was. Her sweet smile just brought joy to
everyone who watched her character on General Hospital. I have watched GH
since i was 4 years old and now im 14. Ten years i have been able to see
Anna's youthful face on my screen. She inspired me so much theres not even a
word for it. It almost brought me to tears to hear that one of the m! ost
caring people i have ever witnessed. She not only inspired the hearts of
millions but she also taught them lessons. I learned from Anna to love
everyone and treat them right for everyone is a human and everyone has
feelings. She took great pride in her family and i am sure she would be
proud to know that she has brought love to this world. She will continue to
glow and will live on through the hearts of her family and her fans. We
believe that the world is duller without her shine and appearance. Rest In
Peace dear Anna for you will always be remembered
(( a great fan of Anna Lee's ))
Hi My thoughts and prayers go out to Anna`s
family I am planning on doing a tribute page for her , her character Lila Q
who she was so wonderful at. I was wondering if it would be ok if I used
some of the pictures on your site thank you so much
I'm so sorry to hear of the passing of Anna. She is one of the last
from a generation like no other. We will never again see that kind of
gentleness and grace. My thoughts and prayers to her family.
I watched General Hospital, Lila was on. When I first started watching it
over 20 years ago, Lila was so dignified. She was the only Quartermaine that
put things together amicably. When she was angry she did it graciously and
never shouted. She was so beautiful and wonderful.
She kept herself so well. Actresses and actors in the past were very talented
and presentable. I didn't like the way General Hospital treated some of its
veteran stars. On Friday I am sure there will be a big tribute to her in the
awards. I shall tape it. Everybody liked Anna Lee. Her funeral will be a big
one. All the General Hospital stars past and present will miss her and other
soap stars as well. Was her son in All My Children some time ago acting as an
intern in the hospital ordering people around? She only has one son? Give her
family my heartfelt sympathy. I never knew her personally but I feel for her and
the family. My mom and sister were shocked to hear the news. I am sure on
General Hospital her death will be put into the script.
since not seeing anna lee i haven't watch general hospital for a long
time, it saddens me that lila was treated so badly i know now that i will
not watch this soap again i love ms. anna lee as lila quartermain she brough
life and truth to the show.. god bless her always. p.s also sorry to hear
about the others that have been mistreated in these day time soaps.. maybe
its time to take a stand on these people and their writers.. love and god
bless lila a.k.a anna lee god be with you always..
arc angl raguel
To the family of Anna Lee: I have been watching General
Hospital ever since it first aired. Your mother was an incredible actress
and a wonderful addition to the show. She was a beautiful and gracious lady.
She will be dearly missed.
So sorry to hear of Anna Lee's passing. I've been watching GH since
I was a young girl with my Mom and I ALWAYS thought Ms. Lee was such an
elegant lady. She was beautiful!!
I've been a fan of General Hospital since1969. I still watch it very
faithfully. One of my greatest pleasures was always watching Miss Anna
Lee. Her hair and makeup was always perfect. She was as beautiful on
the outside as she was on the inside. So sweet and loving. I was very
saddened to hear of her death and the way ABC treated her towards the
end. This Grand Lady didn't deserve this type of remembrance. My
sympathy does indeed go out to her family, and the families that loved
To the family: I loved her. She made the show. She was so
pretty! You were lucky to have had her this long. My mother
died in 1973 at age 46. My father just died, and my grandson also.
Anyway, she was a great actress. Barbara S., Pataskala, OH
My name is Lisa, I live in Pascagoula, Mississippi. I am writing you
today on behalf of my kid sister, who is 13 years old..You see, my
sister was regarded as a child of god because my mom had cancer and had
to go in for a surgery to remove all of her female parts, but a couple
of years later she went in for a checkup only to find she was expected
to give birth again. My mom raised us up on "General Hospital", so
we watched it every day. Well, anyway, Mom had wrote miss Anna a letter
because she was our hero growing up, and after that they became friends
through letters and holiday phone calls. She really had an impact
on our lives. She always had the nicest things to say and when Mom
got down, you could always tell when miss Anna had called because Mom
just had peace of mind. Before my sister was born, Mom told miss
Anna that if she had a girl, she wanted to name her Anna.....Needless to
say, I now have a baby sister named Anna Rebecca Leigh! Ever since she
can remember, miss Anna has called her on her birthdays and sent her
Christmas gifts. In fact, miss Anna sent her a jewelry box that
played music when she was very young. My sister opened it to find
pins from General Hospital, B.B. King, and others. She was very
excited. Well, she has always thought of miss Anna as a grand
mother; she has a home photo of miss Anna and her dogs, and letters from
over the years. For the past couple of years, though, she has
worried herself sick because the letters and phone calls stopped, but
Mom said she couldn't write because of her hand. So it was a
little better, but only today when was she trying to see if miss Anna
had an email address that she found out that miss Anna had not forgotten
her but passed away. She is truly saddened by this and wants
everyone to know that she was the angel that saved her life. She
will always be loved by us...she has not fallen, nor is she