Lee Remick is a Hollywood actress who rises to prominence in the 1960s. Thanks to roles in films such as Anatomy of a Murder and Days of Wine and Roses. Sadly, the beloved figure suffers during her final years after being diagnosed with cancer in 1989. Although the last few years of Lee’s life are hard, the last memories she receives is a happy ones. Months before passing away, Lee make her final public appearance accepting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! Join Facts Verse as rare photos show inside Lee Remick’s final days.
Lee Remick was born on December 14, 1935, in Quincy, Massachusetts. When she was only seven years old, her parents tragically divorced. Left with her mother and brother, the family moves to New York City and starts a new life for themselves. While Lee’s father had worked in clothing, her mother was an actress on the stage. It is her mother’s profession that Lee decides to move when it comes to starting developing aspirations of her own.
Lee’s mother is an actress by the name of Gertrude Margaret Waldo, she helps her daughter follow in her footsteps. When Lee is still young, her mother enrolls her in a prestigious dancing academy, Swoboda School of Dance at the Hewitt School in New York. There, Lee received personal dancing lessons from esteemed ballerina Maria Swoboda.
While training with Maria Swoboda, Lee studied with a special emphasis on theatrical dancing. Maria Swoboda is a member of the Bolshoi Ballet, a Russian classical ballet company that considers one of the preeminent. After retiring as a performer, Maria comes to New York and begins sharing her skills with girls around the area. Lee is lucky enough to count herself amongst Maria’s pupils, and she trains in handy later during her Hollywood career!
When it comes for Lee Remick to pursue her higher education, she decides to study at Barnard College, in Manhattan. In addition to her studies at Barnard College, Lee also did some studying at the Actors Studio. However, she needs to work for a living in order to support herself. It is hard to balance her active studies with her need to work. When she starts studying at Barnard College, Lee decides to quit in regards to her education and focus on acting. A professor at Barnard College advises Lee that she is stretching herself too thin. She needs to decide whether she wants to focus on education, becoming an actress, or working a menial job.
Lee’s Barnard College professor gives her important advice regarding her future, Lee realizes that what she wants to do is become an actress. She quit Barnard College and started auditioning for as many roles as she could. She begins acting during college, and it isn’t difficult for Lee to attempt and make a transition into the career.
Lee made her debut on Broadway in 1953, acting in a production by the name of Be Your Age. Lee’s future success, one might imagine that the play was a huge hit! However, it didn’t perform very well with audiences and instead is put to an end after only five measly performances. Still, Lee stands out to the crowd, and the short-lived show manages to bring the burgeoning actress some much-needed recognition.
Like her mother before her, Lee always maintained a stronger love for acting on the stage overacting on film. However, the medium of the film proved to be where Lee found the majority of her commercial success. The actress’s first performance in a film came when she was only 22 years old. She is cast alongside star Andy Griffith in the film A Face in the Crowd. Contrary to the film’s title, Lee’s role in it ends up making her more than A Face in the Crowd! She would soon become a major star, thanks to her talents.
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Soon after making her silver-screen debut alongside Andy Griffith in A Face in the Crowd, actress Lee Remick’s career was taking off quicker than ever before! She starred in the film Tribute, marking her first collaboration with actor Jack Lemmon. The two would work again in the 1962 film Days of Wine and Roses, which netted Lee an Academy Award nomination.
During her career, Lee became known for taking on roles that were psychologically demanding. She can be playing neurotic female characters in the films A Delicate Balance and The Letter, both of which garnered the actress immense acclaim from both critics and the audience. Given how good the actress is at portraying neurotic characters, many begin to believe that Lee must be somewhat disturbed herself! However, Lee had a happy childhood and was a well-balanced adult.
Lee Remick starred in many, many films over the course of her career, with some of her most notable roles including starring alongside Paul Newman in The Long Hot Summer and starring opposite Frank Sinatra in a film by the name of The Europeans. While Lee never become a movie star that sold tickets based on her name alone, she become a highly respected Hollywood actress that always turned in a fantastic performance when it was asked of her.
As Lee Remick progressed through her professional career, she was also progressing through a few notable romances. In 1958, Lee married a television producer named Bill Colleran. The pair went on to have two children together before eventually divorcing in 1969. Their two children are Kate and Matthew, and they survive Lee after her 1991 death. A year later, Lee married another television producer, this time by the name of William Rory Gowans, or Kip. Lee married Kip Gowans in 1970, and they remained married until the actress’s death in 1991.
Lee Remick’s very last acting role is in the made-for-television feature, Dark Holiday. The film is like the real-life story of a traveling woman who talks into buying an antique in Turkey that she didn’t want and is arrested attempting to take the antique out of the country. Also known as Passport to Terror, Lee had no idea that her role in the made-for-television feature would end up being her very last role ever. The same year the film premieres, Lee Remick diagnoses with cancer after tumors within both her kidneys and her lungs.
According to Lee, she had felt totally fine up until the diagnosis. However, once she learned the truth, the illness hit her like a ton of bricks! After learning about her cancer diagnosis, Lee felt adamant that she was going to be able to fight her way through the disease. She did the best she could, and she also became a pretty strong advocate for others fighting the disease. However, Lee’s battle with cancer didn’t end up proving too successful, with the actress dying two years later.
When it became apparent that the cancer wasn’t going to go away, the doctors decided to cease Lee’s treatments so that she could live the last remaining weeks of her life in peace. Treatments stop two weeks before Lee’s death, allowing her to die peacefully without the hassle of painful and intrusive cancer treatments that didn’t seem to be doing much good anyway. Many close friends visited Lee around this time, including former costar Jack Lemmon. The two had remained friends after working together multiple times, and Jack shared it was hard to see her in the state that she was.
Other people that came out of the woodwork to say their goodbyes to Lee in the final weeks of her life included James Stewart, who had starred with Lee in the film Anatomy of a Murder. Like Jack Lemmon, James had immense professional respect for Lee and considered her a wonderful person and close friend.
Lee died in July of 1991, and her last public appearance had been in April of the same year. Perhaps knowing that her time on Earth is coming to an end, the powers that be blesses Lee Remick with her very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Lee’s final public appearance was to accept this star, which she did with all the style and grace that fans had come to expect. If Lee was suffering at the time, which she most definitely was, it wasn’t apparent to those in the audience.
In the years before her death, Lee Remick had become friends with a fellow cancer fighter named Jill Ireland. For those that don’t know, Jill was the wife of Charles Bronson up until her death. Jill passed away in May 1990 from cancer, a little over a year before Lee. While the two were alive and together, they did their best to support each other through their respective battles. At the time of Lee’s death in July of 1991, she was 55.
Despite the fact that Hollywood actress Lee Remick dies tragically of cancer at the age of only 55, she blesses during the time that she is alive in regards to both her Hollywood career and her loving family.
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