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Carl Lee (November 22, 1926 – April 17, 1986), born Carl Vincent Canegata, was an American actor. He was also the son of actor/professional boxer Canada Lee (1907–1952).[1]

Carl Lee
Born Carl Vincent Canegata
(1926-11-22)November 22, 1926
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died April 17, 1986(1986-04-17) (aged 59)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor, scriptwriter, voice actor
Years active 1954–1983

In a 2000 interview, filmmaker James Toback stated, "In the sort of hip world of New York, Carl Lee was the hip-black-actor icon. He was for hip people what Sidney Poitier was for mainstream people."[2]

Lee played a heroin dealer, the title role in the Obie Award-winning play The Connection. He later appeared in the film version.[3]

Lee, who made his first film appearance in the 1954 film Human Desire, went on to appear in such films as A Man Called Adam in 1966 opposite Sammy Davis, Jr. and Cicely Tyson, and the now classic blaxploitation film Superfly (with the late Ron O'Neal) in 1972. He also appeared in various television roles in such shows as The Defenders, Mannix, and Good Times ("Willona's Surprise", 1977) in a memorable performance in which he portrayed Willona Woods's ex-husband Ray, who makes sexual advances towards Thelma (Bernadette Stanis).

Lee suffered a heroin addiction which led to his death.[2]

Acting filmographyEdit

  • Keeping On (1981) Davis
  • Good Times (1977) Ray Woods in "Willona's Surprise" (1 episode)
  • Serpico (1976) Carothers in "The Deadly Game" (1 episode)
  • Barbary Coast (1975) Currier in "Jesse Who?" (1 episode)
  • Mannix (1975) Ginger in "Hardball" (1 episode)
  • Caribe(1975) Haines in "The Mercenary" (1 episode)
  • The Defenders (1965) Philip Dunning in "Eyewitness" (1 episode)
  • The Nurses (1963) Lonnie Hill in "Express Stop from Lenox Avenue" (1 episode)


  1. ^ Actor Carl Lee biography.
  2. ^ a b Sragow, Michael (2000-03-30). "The return of the White Negro". Retrieved 2011-11-13. 
  3. ^ Carl Lee credits at Off-Broadway ( Database

External linksEdit