Lee Purcell

Paragould Took Hats Off For Lee Purcell

Transcribed by : Tina Easley


Memphis Press Friday , August 10, 1973

Ever since Lee Purcell made her screen debut in "Adam at 6 A.M." and was given a parade in her hometown , her movie career has mushroomed.

Lee's the beautiful daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Don Purcell of Paragould , Ark.

When she went up for the film , Steve McQueen , who was producing it , looked at her and declared that she must come back 20 pounds heavier.

Steve took me aside , Lee related at Gallagher's restaurant "and showed me some excercises calculated to put more weight on my bones . I returned in three months and got the role."

While filming it in Coumbia , Missouri , Lee took time to visit her family in Paragould , and that's when the town turned out to welcome her.

With the mayor and police escorting her , Lee paraded up the main street and past a funeral home. One of the citizens mistook the spectacle for a funeral procession. He took his hat off and bowed his head as Lee road by, waving her arms.

Lee's current movie is "Dirty Little Billy" in which she co-stars Michael Pollard."Her next one is Dennis Hopper's "Kid Blue " and will be out next month . In the fall she'll be seen on ABC in a movie called "Fast Freight " with David Janssen and Keenan Wynn.

When Lee went home again last month , she was involved in a different procession . She witnessed her sister Paige in a wedding procession with forest ranger Philip Wooldridge .

As for her own procession to the altar that may not be far away , romantic interest in a freelance photographer Shepard Sherbell .

They live in a big house in Beverly Hills with Karen Black and her husband Skip Burton "and nine cats."

Memphis Paper Jan. 1976

Lee Purcell is a beautiful and gifted actress who has done alot of weird things for the movies .

She has walked the wing of an airplane , played a motorcycle queen and accurately portrayed a hang glider. I mean she really has done these things. She wouldn't let a stunt person do them for her .

Ask her about her career and she will tell you that her sucess has come from a combination of training , ambition , guts and luck. She stresses that last one a little bit.

Lee also has written a few things for the Commercial Appeal . Back in her high school days at Paragould , Ark, she used to send in stories about the football team over there.

"Hey , I'm still a Razorback ," she said in a telephone interview, "Once a Razorback always a Razorback."

The Commercial Appeal

She was just one of those small -town beauties who apparently never heard the whisperings you know the ones- about the dreary things that happen to tender, young girls who strike out on their own for Hollywood.

Her name was Lee Purcell. She was 18 , auburn -haired , brown-eyed , strikingly pretty, and she'd just graduated from high school in Paragould , Ark. which had been her home for most of her life . Her father a major in the Marines , had been killed in a plane crash when she was 10 weeks old , but her mother remarried a young doctor , so growing up was a happy routine chocked with proms , parties and dancing lessons. When she graduated from high school in 1965 , there was the usual mother - and -daughter debate about what she should do now.