China Lee

China Lee (born Margaret Lee; September 2, 1942) is an American model and actress. She was Playboy's Playmate of the Month for the August 1964 issue, and the first Asian American Playmate. Her centerfold was photographed by Pompeo Posar.[1] According to her Playmate profile, her name is pronounced "chee-na" to rhyme with "Tina".

China Lee
Playboy centerfold appearance
August 1964
Preceded byMelba Ogle
Succeeded byAstrid Schulz
Personal details
BornMargaret Lee
(1942-09-02) September 2, 1942 (age 78)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
MeasurementsBust: 35 in (89 cm)
Waist: 22 in (56 cm)
Hips: 35 in (89 cm)
Height5 ft 4.5 in (164 cm)
Weight112 lb (51 kg)

Early lifeEdit

Lee was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Chinese parents who had immigrated to the United States after their marriage. The family owned a laundry and later a much lauded restaurant. She is the youngest of eight children and the younger sister of Harry Lee, who served as the sheriff of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana for about 28 years.[2] The name "China" is derived from the nickname "Chinita" ("little Chinese girl") bestowed on her by Spanish-speaking neighbors who admired her dancing as a child.


Lee worked as a hairstylist and waitress, then as a Playboy Club Bunny, before appearing in Playboy. She had been a "Training Bunny," which required her to travel to different Playboy Clubs to teach prospective Bunnies their duties.

Lee appeared at the end of Woody Allen's What's Up, Tiger Lily?, performing a striptease.

Personal lifeEdit

Lee married comedian Mort Sahl in 1967. They divorced in 1991. Their only child, Mort Sahl, Jr. died on March 27, 1996 at the age of 19.[3]


Year Title Role Notes
1964 The Troublemaker The Hooker
1965 Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine Robot
1966 Harper Dancer Uncredited
1966 Paradise, Hawaiian Style Girl Uncredited
1966 What's Up, Tiger Lily? Dancer in Credits Uncredited
1966 The Swinger Model Uncredited
1967 The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. Vivian Episode: "The Double-O-Nothing Affair"
1967 Good Times Mordicus' Girl
1967 Don't Make Waves Waitress Uncredited
1969 Medium Cool Roller Derby Patron (final film role)


  1. ^ "Playmate data". Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  2. ^ Feng, Rex (November 12, 2007). "Showdown With The 'Chinese Cowboy': Wrangling with the legacy of late Louisiana Sheriff Harry Lee". AsianWeek. ISSN 0195-2056. Archived from the original on October 5, 2012.
  3. ^ Archerd, Army (June 21, 1996). "Copperfield Act Could Blow Away Auds". Variety. ISSN 0042-2738.

External linksEdit