Lee Moore — Manhattan, N.Y.
Feb. 19, 1929 — Aug. 16, 2018
Lee Moore, a true gentleman of the theater whose distinctive deep voice and commanding demeanor made him a constant and familiar presence on stage, screen, radio and television since the 1950s, died on Aug. 16, 2018, in Manhattan. He was 89 and had homes in Manhattan and Cornwall, Conn.
His death was announced by his wife, the opera singer and actress Leslie Middlebrook.
At the day and hour of his death, Thursday, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m., he was to appear at an Episcopal Actors’ Guild event at the Little Church Around the Corner. He had recently completed work on a Marvel superhero film production as well as several independent films.
Lee moved seamlessly from the stage to radio to movies and TV and back again. A member of AEA and SAG/AFTRA, he appeared in principal roles on every one of the daytime television dramas in their golden age, culminating in seven years as Glenn Taggart in “The Guiding Light;” helped save a foundering Pennsylvania radio station and earned a lasting local fame as a radio personality; and won a permanent place in the hearts of his fellow members of The Players, Episcopal Actors’ Guild and Lambs, both as committee member and performer.
Born in Brooklyn to Julia Gunther Ingelbord and Joseph Moore, both professional singers, he was educated at Erasmus Hall in Brooklyn and Litchfield High School. His training as a competitive debater in high school and his distinctive deep voice paved the way for his acting career, beginning in Air Force acting troupes while he served during the Korean conflict. He was stationed for four years in Frankfurt, Germany.
Upon his return to the states, he became a professional actor, drawing notice first as a leading man at the Litchfield Summer Playhouse in Connecticut and the Arden Playhouse in Arden, Del., both directed by Leonard Altobell, then in many Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway productions. Later in life he studied with Wynn Handman of the American Place Theatre and took singing lessons with Dan Merriman and Beverly Myers to polish his baritone voice.
Among his noted New York appearances were several roles at the Mint Theater, including “Allison’s House” and “The Return of the Prodigal,” as well as at the John Houseman Theatre, the American Place Theatre and the Quaigh Theatre, where he starred in the only New York revival of Moss Hart’s “Christopher Blake.”
He also appeared at regional theaters, including the Allentown Playhouse; Mill Mountain in Roanoke, Va.; the Buffalo Arena Stage; the Cleveland Playhouse; the Arizona Theater Company; and the Geva Theatre in Rochester, N.Y.
In the mid-1970s, he drew listeners and advertisers to a daily radio show on the struggling WWPA-AM in Williamsport, Pa. As the “Tom Cat,” he presented music, poetry and conversation, becoming so popular that he sometimes had to flee waiting fans by way of the fire escape. The station returned to financial health and survives today.
In the 80s and 90s, he shuttled between New York and Los Angeles to act in movies as well as in TV pilots and successful series, including “Falcon Crest” and the mini-series “War and Remembrance.” He also appeared in the United States premiere of the stage version of “Breaker Morant.”
Later in his career, he was in “Hope and Faith” and “The Lion of the Desert,” which was filmed in Italy. He was featured in the movie “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” and in the award-winning short film “Christ in the City,” among others.
He met his wife Leslie in 1978 at a New York casting workshop. They married in 1990 and made many joint appearances, touring together in “How Love Endures, 100 Years of Broadway Melodies” and “A Victorian Evening of Romance, Poetry and Song, or the Tale of Dolly Gray.” For more than a quarter of a century, he worked at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in the education/marketing department, introducing young people to the opera and classical music he loved.
He had been a member of the E.A.G. since 2007 and of The Lambs and The Players since 2001.
He had a special relationship with The Players, the famous club for theatricals and their professional friends on Gramercy Park South, becoming known as “The Voice” of the club. He was a stalwart of many dramatic, cabaret and variety shows there, often appearing with his wife, and he served on several committees, including the finance and admissions committees. He was famous for the speech from “Hamlet” that nearly every prospective member heard during the admissions process:
“Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used; for they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the time…”
He wrote a screenplay, “Edwin, the Actor King,” about Edwin Booth, the most famous American actor of the 19th century and the founder of The Players. The script has had several readings and showcases at The Players and remains in development.
His survivors include his wife; his son, from a previous marriage, Andre W. K Moore-Roupp and his wife, Ellie Moore-Roupp, of Mifflinburg, Pa.; and their daughter, Monroe Anna Kuhl Moore-Roupp; as well as his sister-in-law, Julia Forbes, of Boston; and his niece, Heather Forbes.
A memorial service will be held on Sept. 22 at 2 p.m. at the Little Church Around the Corner (The Church of the Transfiguration), at 1 E. 29th St., Manhattan, NY.
A private tribute will take place at The Players on October 25.
Funeral arrangements are by Roupp Funeral Home, Inc., Mifflinburg, Pa.
Leave your condolences online at www.rouppfuneralhome.com.