Greene County, Arkansas

Lee Purcell

Paragould Took Hats Off For Lee Purcell

Transcribed by: Sandy Hardin


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 exercises calculated to put more weight on my bones . I returned in three months and got the role."

While filming it in Columbia, 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 a lot 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 success 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.

Return To Greene County, Arkansas Newspapers

Return To Greene County, Arkansas Index Page