Lee Meriwether is an American actress, former model, and Miss America. She is popularly known for her portrayal of Betty Jones in the hit crime drama series of the ‘70s, Barnaby Jones, for which she scored two Golden Globe Awards and an Emmy Award nomination.
The beauty queen and phenomenal actress also teased her way into the hearts of audiences across the world with her appearances in the movie Batman, Angel in My Pocket, The Undefeated, and The Legend of Lylah Clare. Some of her most memorable television series include The Munsters Today, The Time Tunnel, Mission: Impossible, The New Andy Griffith Show, Dr. Kildare, and the popular daytime soap, All My Children.
Despite all the mainstream success she found on big and small screens, the stage remained Lee’s one true love. She was a member of Theatre West for a long time, delivering countless spellbinding performances in Spoon River Anthology, Aesop in Central Park, and Ladies of Hanover Towers. Lee Meriwether is beloved for her involvement in charity. She has been supporting all kinds of humanitarian endeavors for many years, and always finds time to help her fellow humans no matter how busy her schedule is.
Lee Meriwether Biography (Age)
The award-winning actress was born on May 27, 1935, in Los Angeles, California, to Bethel Mulligan and Claudius Meriwether, who christened her Lee Ann Meriwether. Lee had a younger brother named Don, he was born three years after her. She was raised in San Francisco after her father’s work transfer made them move there while she was in fifth grade. She got her early education at George Washington High School, then moved on to San Francisco City College where she majored in Radio and Theatre Arts.
While at the college, and at the insistence of friends who entered her name, Lee Meriwether contested and won Miss San Francisco and Miss California pageant titles. She was crowned Miss America in 1955 after reciting a flawless monologue by John Millington Synge.
Leveraging her reign as Miss America, the beauty queen joined The Today Show. She took advantage of her pageant scholarships and began studying acting. It is said that she also studied dancing and singing with some of New York’s best coaches. Soon after, she booked her first TV role in The Philco Television Playhouse, her first film role in The 4-D Man, and her first stage appearance in Hatful of Rain.
By the 1960s, Lee was starring or making guest appearances on television series like Bringing Up Buddy, The Lloyd Bridges Show, I’m Dickens, He’s Fester, Dr. Kildare, 12 o’Clock High, and Man from U.N.C.L.E. She played Catwoman in the 1966 Batman movie, as well as on the series. It was plain for all to see that Lee Meriwether was an actress worth her chops and slowly but surely working her way to the top of Hollywood’s ladder.
She went on to feature in more shows and films, eventually scoring her Award-nominated role in Barnaby Jones, which she played for eight years. On the national stage, Lee starred in productions of The Odd Couple, The King and I, Hello Dolly, I Do, I Do, Plaza Suite, and Last Summer at Blue Fish Cove, which earned her a San Francisco Critics Award and a Drama Logue Award for Best Actress.
Lee continued to expand her acting resume as the years trudged on. She has dabbled into voice acting, reading for video games and audio books. Her most recent appearances include guest roles on The League, Hawaii Five-0, Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23, and Desperate Housewives.
Away from acting, Lee Meriwether has been involved in charity works, working with organizations focused on helping the disabled, children in need of reconstructive, persons suffering from cancer, women afflicted with cystic fibrosis, the blind, and pets.
Lee was once married to Frank Alerter, with whom she had two wonderful daughters named Kyle and Lesley. She was also married to Marshall Borden and her most recent romantic affair is with Tito Gaona – a professional trapeze artist and circus performer.
Her Net Worth
Lee Meriwether has been active in the acting industry for over fifty years, during which she amassed a sizeable fortune for herself. The respected actress is estimated to be worth about $200 million. Considering the number of movies, television shows, and stage plays she has been in, as well as her other engagements, it’s hard to argue that she isn’t worth that much.
Is She Alive or Dead?
After a certain age, people begin to speculate about your life, and if they haven’t seen you a while, they might suspect that you have passed away. This appears to be where Lee Meriwether is at. At 83, she is not young anymore, however, she is still very much alive and enjoying the rest of her days in the company of her family and the people she loves.