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Mable Lee (August 2, 1921 – February 7, 2019), sometimes spelled Mabel Lee, was an American jazz tap dancer, singer, and entertainer. Lee had been performing since the age of four. Lee appeared on Broadway, at the Apollo Theater, and in numerous other shows.[2]

Mable Lee
Mable Lee 1945.jpg
Lee c. 1945.
Born(1921-08-02)August 2, 1921
DiedFebruary 7, 2019(2019-02-07) (aged 97)
Other names
  • The Queen of Soundies
  • Mabel Lee
Years active1934–2018


Born in Atlanta, Georgia, to Rosella Moore and Alton Lee, Mable Lee was a child prodigy who began performing when she was four years old, at nine years of age was performing in local clubs with a big band and as a 12-year-old was appearing at the Top Hat nightclub in Georgia.[2] She moved to New York City in 1940 to pursue a career as a singer and dancer, and soon joined the chorus of the Apollo Theater in Harlem. She subsequently worked at various nightclubs, before going to London, where she spent 18 months and performed at the Palladium.[2]

During World War II, she toured with the USO as a member of their first all-black unit. Known for her dancing in over a hundred of these short musical films during the 1940s, Lee was featured on the cover of the March 1947 issue of Ebony magazine.[3] She also appeared on Broadway in multiple productions, including the 1952 revival of the musical Shuffle Along.[4] Lee was the 2004 winner of the Flo-Bert Award which honors "outstanding figures in the field of tap dance",[5] and a 2008 Inductee into the Tap Dance Hall of Fame.[2]

Lee died on February 7, 2019 at the age of 97.[1][6]


  1. ^ a b Seibert, Brian (February 14, 2019). "Mable Lee, Tap-Dancing 'Queen of the Soundies,' Dies at 97". Archived from the original on 2019-02-15. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Hill, Constance Valis. "Mable Lee 2008 Inductee". American Tap Dance Foundation. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  3. ^ Hill, Constance Valis (2009). Tap Dancing America: A Cultural History. Oxford University Press. pp. 144–145.
  4. ^ "Mable Lee - International Broadway Database".
  5. ^ "The Flo-Bert Awards". Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  6. ^ Santi, Christina (8 February 2019). "Famed Tap Dancer Mable Lee Dies at 97". Retrieved 10 February 2019.