News about Anna Lee from since when the site
One of Anna's husband's
books, "So Love Returns", was recently made into a film! Author and
family friend Peter S. Beagle says: "The serialization money for SO LOVE RETURNS
bought Robert his one big indulgence - a smallish swimming pool out back that I
used to paddle around in with him when I stayed over. He always called it the SO
LOVE RETURNS pool...
If you look among the letters on the Anna Lee website, you'll find a couple of
mine, one of which tells the story of her gift on Robert's 80th birthday!"
Buy it now on DVD!
Buy Anna Lee's book! Read the reviews
of her book! Email the author at
Memorial Pages, for remembering Anna and Lila...
Page 1 Page 2
Page 3 Page 4
This beautiful picture at right was contributed by Jamie B. "I made this
in her loving memory..I have been a fan of GH since I was 1..I have been
watching the show for 33 years.."
Here's some info sent to us by a fan about a new
You may be interested to know that a book has just been published in England
about 49 Bankside, also known as Cardinal's Wharf, the London house where Anna
Lee lived with her first husband Robert E. Stevenson, from 1933, and where their
first daughter, Venetia, was born. It is called 'The House by the Thames and the
people who lived there', written by Gillian Tindall, who interviewed Anna for
the book in Beverly Hills in 2003. It traces the history of the houses on the
site from medieval times to the present day, encompassing Shakespeare, Sir
Christopher Wren and
many other famous people along the way. It is published here by Chatto & Windus,
ISBN 0 7011 7593 1 (not available yet in the US).
Incidentally, Anna Lee is nearly always referred to as Robert Stevenson's first
wife, but as the book mentions, and cuttings on your own website
show, the couple had to wait for his divorce from Cecilie, and that is
presumably why the couple married in Marylebone Register Office and not a
Stuart Damon (Alan Quartermaine, Lila's
son, on General Hospital) was fired and killed off...however, he is still on the
show until at least the summer as Alan's ghost. He celebrates 30 years on
The life of legendary actress Anna Lee is now in print. McFarland
Publishing has recently completed the printing of Anna's biography. She
this book many years before she died. Later during bad health she
author and biographer Barbara Cooper to help her complete this tome.
with the help of Anna's son Jeffrey Byron completed the book after Anna's
Anna's longtime friend and costar in "How Green Was My Valley", actress
Maureen O'Hara, wrote the Foreword.
Author Barbara Cooper says, "Anna Lee was a warm, wonderful, funny woman
lived life to its fullest. She was also the most courageous woman I have
known, pursuing her love of acting while suffering from crippling and
pain. Yet she never complained. Knowing her and having the opportunity to
her tell the story of her fascinating life was both an privilege and a
McFarland's web site is: http://www.mcfarlandpub.com or to order the book directly, go to:
Anna's autobiography, now called "Anna Lee: A Life in Film and General Hospital", will be
published in July 2007. We will put up more news as soon as we hear it! The co-author of Anna Lee's book, Barbara Roisman Cooper,
says, "It was an honor to work with her. She was lovely and lively to the end.
story contains lots of details about her films, her co-stars, her husbands
(there were 3), her children, and, of course, General Hospital. I
about a dozen of her colleagues from the soap, and they are quoted at
in the book."
Evan Stafford, the grandson of the late actress Anna Lee (Lila)
appeared on "General Hospital" on the Friday, March 23 episode. It's a
small part but one that Evan is excited about. He knew when filming it
grandmother's spirit was with him and guiding him. Evan was in a
where "Lulu" and "Maxie" are in a restaurant having an argument and he is
unable to order because of the noise they are making. He then gets to
lady with a baby stroller out the door.
"Sure, it's not a big part, anything but, but it's a start and I'm
to "GH" and casting director Mark Teschner and Ms. Gwen Hillier for the chance."
Who knows what's next? Stay tuned! Please make sure to
write to the show and tell them you want him
News about Anna Lee's Death
For those people who were wondering about the songs played
during the GH memorial: This is what I found in Google. Apparently the sound Brooke Lynn sang is an old prayer put to
music. You can find an example at
I think the other one, which was played during the clips, is Mark's song, to which you can find lyrics at
Very sad news...
Beverly Hills, California
Sunday, May 16, 2004
On Friday evening, May 14, 2004 Anna Lee died at her home with her son Jeffrey
(Bryon) by her side. "It was very peaceful and mom died with dignity and grace,
just as she lived her life." Said Byron.
Anna Lee formerly Joan Boniface Winnifrith was born on January 2, 1913 in Great
Britain. She became an actress very young in her life, did movies in Britain and
even worked with Alfred Hitchcock before moving to the United States and doing
such acclaimed hits as "How Green Was My Valley," "Fort Appache," What Ever
Happened to Baby Jane" to name a few. She was most recently known as Lila
Quartermaine on ABC's daytime drama General Hospital. A role she played for
decades. A beloved actress, she married prolific writer Robert Nathan (Portrait
of Jennie, The Bishop's Wife) in 1970.
In later years her health deteriated, however she continued working until
recently. "We will miss mom very much but she will always be a part of our
lives." Said the family.
Anna Lee will be missed.
The family requests no telephone calls at this time. However, we will gladly
forward any wishes or interview requests and we will get back to you
immediately. We are in the process of making arrangements for a memorial service
and it will be announced at a later date.
Any donations can be made in Anna Lee's name to The
Disabled Veterans of America or The Royal Oak Foundation if you wish. Also, I
will be going out to the memorial service in the next month (which will be open
to the public) and will take any cards and letters to the family. If you wish to
send cards and/or letters please send to:
The Family of Anna Lee
c/o Tommy Garrett
PO Box 215
New Canton, VA 23123
Tommy Lightfoot Matthew Garrett, spokesman
Garrett Associates & ICONS Public Relations
ANGELES (AP) - Anna Lee, whose nearly 70-year acting career in movies and
television spanned from her breakthrough role in How Green Was My Valley to an
extended run on General Hospital, died Friday of pneumonia, her son said. She
Lee had been ailing for the past several months and died at her home near
Beverly Hills with son Jeffrey Byron, 48, by her side, Byron said Sunday.
Paralysed from the waist down in a car accident just a year after she began
playing Lila Quartermaine in ABC's General Hospital, Lee acted in a wheelchair
for more than two decades until she left the soap last year, Byron said.
Born in Kent, England, Lee studied acting in London and was known as "the
British bombshell" when touring with the London Repertory Theatre, her son
In the early 1930s she moved to California to work in Hollywood, and
appeared in more than 60 films including The Sound of Music (1965), Fort
Apache (1948) and King Solomon's Mines (1937).
"She was beautiful," said actress Maureen O'Hara, who starred with Lee in
1941's How Green Was My Valley. "She came to the United States and immediately
everybody fell in love with her."
O'Hara said Lee was most effective as an actress in straightforward tales
of love and family life. "She made you feel, looking at her, that you belonged
to the same family as her," she said.
Nearing retirement age, Lee's stint on General Hospital rejuvenated her,
Byron said. "That was really a great elixir for her. Without a doubt it gave
her much more longevity later in life," he said.
In 1982, Lee received an MBE, or Member of the Order of the British Empire
award. She was to be honoured with a lifetime achievement award at Friday's
Daytime Emmy Awards ceremony.
Lee was married three times, first to Robert Stevenson, the director of
films including The Love Bug and Mary Poppins. She was married to George
Stafford for two decades and wed writer Robert Nathan in 1970. Nathan died in
Lee is survived by a sister, Ruth, two sons, two daughters, seven
grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held in Los Angeles in several weeks, Byron
NOTE this is from the AP service; I don't think the parts about her
accident are exactly right because I remember her walking when I first started
watching the show in 1984, and then later she had a cane. She started on
the show in 1978, so I don't think she was paralyzed by 79. Perhaps the
accident contributed to her eventual paralysis; I'm really not sure.
Just wanted to clear that up because some people have commented on that fact
From Suzanne, webmaster of this site: I am very saddened by this
news. Back in October when ABC fired Ms.
Lee, her son Jeffrey predicted that this might happen because Anna Lee lived
for her work. It was what kept her going, he said. ABC was terrible to
this great lady. I realize they are a corporation and make decisions
based on financial reasons, but the way they treated Ms. Lee, who was a great
actress, and have treated other seniors such as John Ingle (Edward) and Rachel
Ames (Audrey, the last original cast member) is horrible and heartless.
Companies do not have to treat their employees in such a callous manner.
I have not enjoyed seeing what NBC has done to many of their seniors on "Days
of Our Lives", but at least they did not get rid of them all, for starters.
They treated each one with respect, sitting them down and preparing them for
the news, and giving them a good story before they wrote them off. They
give every exiting cast member a party with a cake, and for Frances Reid they
even gave her a very expensive diamond and sapphire ring. They hired
John Ingle with a contract after ABC's callous treatment of him.
When Ms. Lee's contract was up in October, ABC did not even bother to phone
her, let alone talk to her face-to-face, or give her any story to exit.
After we went around publicizing what they did on the internet, ABC put out a
press release, trying to say that they weren't firing her, just putting her on
recurring status, and they planned to use her in the future. They were lying.
They never planned to use her again and in fact didn't even bring her back for
the usual Thanksgiving or Christmas episodes. They were trying to do
damage control because they knew the fans were objecting to the way they
treated Ms. Lee. Shame on ABC.
Ms. Lee was a dedicated actress who devoted her life to her work and to her
family. She kept in touch with many fans who are pouring in their
well-wishes and sad regards via email. She was loving and hard-working.
Even after ABC's treatment of her, she was too much of a lady to complain to
the press about ABC or being out of a job. I'm sure that she would have
thought that was undignified. I know she was greatly hurt by what they did.
This website will stay up so that fans worldwide can learn about her great
career and remember her through the pictures. We will continue to add
information and pictures as we find them. Thank you!
Anna Lee and other veteran daytime actors will be receiving Lifetime
Achievement awards at the Daytime Emmys to be held Friday, May 21, at NYC's
Radio City Music Hall; last thing that I read was that she was too ill to attend
the show; apparently that was true.
Anna Lee Older News (from before
Ms. Lee had been commissioned to write her life story and was hard at work on
Anna Lee's contract was not renewed; in effect that means she is
fired; it is an insult to someone who has worked so hard since 1978 and is
beloved by all. ABC wants to still use her occasionally but not pay her or
give her medical benefits.
GO HERE to see how you can help!!
Note that this is NOT a rumor, it has nothing to do with Ms. Lee's health,
and it is not a mutual agreement; these things have all been posted on other
websites but they are wrong. I have spoken with Ms. Lee's son, soap actor
Jeffrey Byron, and I have been in constant touch with her publicist. She
is very upset about this turn of events and is hoping that ABC changes their
Statement from Ms. Lee's publicist: Miss Lee appreciates the fans support that she has received over the years
and especially over the past few days..... She is dealing with this
the best way she can and we will not forget you. Right now she needs to
and figure out where she will go from here with her life. Her career has
important to her for over 70 years now and unless she receives a reprieve
is lost and searching for other things. Please know that you fans have
power and can let ABC and the media know how you feel about this. She
loves her GH family and considers the fans part of that.
God Bless you, Tommy L M Garrett, press agent for Miss Anna Lee.
John Ingle (Edward) was fired from GH, then he was rehired as a recurring
cast member, and now he is going to be working on Days of Our Lives playing
Mickey (replacing John Clarke, who retired).
Please vote for Anna Lee as favorite actress, and for both Lila and Edward as
ABC lied to us; they put out a press release in November (after all of the
fan uproar), saying that they had no plans to get rid of Anna Lee, she would be
part of the GH family blah blah...but then they never ONCE contacted her.
Not once since her contract expired has anyone from ABC phoned or visited her.
They just didn't contact her, then also put John Ingle on contract (he was smart
and went to Days), then recast with a much younger man to play Edward. Now
we never see Lila (even during the holidays shows!) and I'm guessing we won't
unless there is a major change in ABC's hierarchy. Both Edward and Lila
are now out of the opening credits of the show. It's so sad how ABC is
treating their older actors.
A list of all of the Walt
Disney board of directors, compiled by fan Pichi, so that you can write to them
to Save Anna Lee!
This story was covered in Soap Opera Digest, Soap Opera Weekly, and the
National Examiner. Soaps In Depth barely (and misleadingly) covered
it; the press is getting pressured by ABC not to cover Anna Lee's firing in a
From Variety.com: Army Archerd's column
1/29: Anna Lee sadly
tells me she's not received a renewal of her stand on "General Hospital." She's
played Lila Quartermaine for 25 years. Lee, 90, tells me, "They have been like
my second family -- the show has been a reason for me to go on." She's been
wheel-chaired since an auto accident five years ago. And that tragedy, plus the
fact her house burned down seven years ago, have put an enormous financial
burden on the vet thesp. "I don't really know what I'll do." She claims she was
once told by one of the show's execs, "You'll be on the show for the rest of
From TVGuide.com, 10/31:
Anna Lee, who has played General Hospital's matriarch Lila
Quartermaine since 1978, will be taken off contract as of November. The news
comes as a shock for the 90-year-old, wheelchair-bound actress, who states
through her rep that she was promised a lifetime contract under the reign of
GH's former executive producer, Wendy Riche. "There is no such thing
as a lifetime contract with [GH]," clarifies an ABC executive. Although
Lee will no longer be considered a contract player, ABC stresses, through an
official announcement, that the 25-year vet will still be utilized. "Anna Lee
has been a beloved cast member of General Hospital for many years, and it
is our intent to continue to use her in a recurring role as Lila Quartermaine on
the show as story needs may dictate."