Michele Lee has starred on Broadway, in feature and television films, performed in concerts and variety specials with legends of the entertainment industry. She is known worldwide for her Emmy-nominated role as Karen Fairgate MacKenzie in the landmark CBS series Knots Landing. (Knots is now the third-longest running prime time dramatic series in history). Michele appeared in all 344 episodes setting the American record for the greatest number of consecutive appearances by a leading actress in an hour-long prime-time dramatic series.
Ms. Lee’s career began on the stage when discovered as a teen by producer David Merrick. At age 18, Ms. Lee starred in Bravo Giovanni with Metropolitan Opera’s Cesare Siepe, which led to her breakout role as Rosemary in the original How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying opposite Robert Morse.
In 1974 she starred on the Broadway stage in Michael Bennett’s musical Seesaw. Her performance won her a Tony nomination, the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Award for Best Actress. In 2002 Ms. Lee completed her long run in Charles Busch’s Broadway hit, The Tale of the Allergist Wife opposite Linda Lavin and Tony Roberts. For her performance as the mysterious and enigmatic Lee Green she earned rave reviews and a Tony nomination.
Ms. Lee has starred in and produced numerous films for television, including CBS’s Emmy-nominated Big Dreams and Broken Hearts: The Dottie West Story: When No One Would Listen, and Scandalous Me: The Jacqueline Susann Story. Other television films include Dark Victory, Bud and Lou and Neil Simon’s Broadway Bound.
In 1996, Ms. Lee became the first woman to produce, direct, co-write and star in a motion picture for television. Color Me Perfect made its debut as an “event presentation” on Lifetime Television. Michele and her film were honored with the prestigious Christopher Award, which recognizes works of art in literature, film and television that “affirm the highest values of the human spirit.” Additionally, Color Me Perfect and Michele were honored with the Gracie Allen Award presented by the American Women in Television and Radio.
Ms. Lee was named the NATO Star of Tomorrow for her debut in the movie version of How to Succeed… ,starred with Dick Van Dyke in Carl Reiner’s cult classic The Comic and in the world-wide Disney favorite The Love Bug. She was last seen in Universal’s Along Came Polly opposite Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston.
Ms. Lee opened her rave reviewed musical act at Feinstein’s at the Regency in New York City and continues her concerts in performing arts venues across the country. Steven Holden of the New York Times declared, “Her show belongs to the old school of knock-’em-dead entertainment embodied by Liza Minnelli, Sam Harris and Patti LaBelle. Once you’re on the stage, it isn’t enough to seduce or enlighten; the only goal worth pursuing is total conquest. ”
In January, 2010 Ms. Lee opened in New York in Love, Loss & What I Wore written by her favorite writer-director Nora Ephron and her sister Delia. Carnegie Hall followed in February with an evening performance with Michael Feinstein.
Much of Ms. Lee’s time and talent are devoted to community endeavors. She co-founded and sits on the board of The Entertainment Industries Council (EIC) in the early ’80’s to bring the influence of the entertainment industry to bear on health and social issues. She is also a member of the Artists Committee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Ms. Lee was recently presented a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.