To jump off the cliff into an abyss: A life’s work with Emmy nominee Lee Purcell

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In her most revealing interview to date, Lee Purcell of “Big Wednesday” and “Valley Girl” fame recalls anecdotes from a 50-year Tinseltown career. Circa 1968, the baby-faced actress’s destiny in front of the camera already appears assured while a neighbor nonchalantly waters the lawn. Steve McQueen soon cast her in his Solar Productions-financed “Adam at 6 A.M.,” a rarely seen 1970 movie exploring a cool California semantic professor’s quest for personal fulfillment. Purcell’s debt of gratitude to the undisputed King of Cool is uncovered in part two of an extensive profile available under this caption. Photography by Harry Langdon
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A strikingly beautiful Lee Purcell attends the Hallmark Channel Summer 2016 TCA on July 27, 2016, in Los Angeles to support the release of “J.L. Ranch,” a modern day family western costarring Jon Voight and James Caan. Photography by Robby Klein / Contour by Getty Images

The Lee Purcell Interview [Part One]

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Lee Purcell is a supremely confident, precocious seven-year-old in this circa 1955 candid. Image courtesy of Lee Purcell
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“I like creating something or other all the time. That is my life’s work, whether being paid or not. I can’t imagine any other life.” An autographed head shot of Lee Purcell, circa 1974. Image Credit: History For Sale
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Auburn-haired actress Lee Purcell, best known for appearing in such cult films as “Mr. Majestyk,” “Almost Summer,” “Big Wednesday,” and “Valley Girl,” rocks curls in a vintage photo from the late 1970s. Image Credit: AllPosters.com
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Carol Worthey, Patrick Culliton, Marty Kove, Joni Labaqui (ASI), David Carradine [Old Doc], Lee Purcell, and Bob Caso [narrator] represent the L. Ron Hubbard Pulp Fiction Adventures Theatre cast production of “A Sound Investment” from the Old Doc Methuselah chronicles at Author Services, Inc. in the L. Ron Hubbard Gallery at 7051 Hollywood Boulevard, January 2004. Image Credit: The Carol Worthey Collection
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In “Solomon’s Choice,” a third season episode of “Marcus Welby, M.D.” broadcast on March 14, 1972, Lee Purcell makes a return appearance on the top-rated drama as a different character named Carol Lockett, an unmarried, expectant young lady who happens to be Dr. Welby’s niece. Image Credit: NBCUniversal / screengrab
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Kind-hearted general practitioner Marcus Welby [Robert Young] and apprentice Steven Kiley [James Brolin] represent the primary characters in ABC television’s “Marcus Welby, M.D.” circa 1969. Image Credit: United Archives GmbH / Alamy
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Lee Purcell, brutal mobster boyfriend Al Lettieri, and henchman Taylor Lacher are seen departing a private plane in pursuit of watermelon farmer Charles Bronson in the gritty action flick “Mr. Majestyk,” released on July 17, 1974 by the Mirisch Corporation. Image Credit: United Artists / Photofest
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Don’t even think about crossing paths with watermelon farmer Vince Majestyk [Charles Bronson] if you find him packing a pump-action shotgun. “Mr. Majestyk” opened to brisk business in theaters on July 17, 1974. Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / MovieLaLa
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Jan-Michael Vincent, Lee Purcell, and Gary Busey explore sun-soaked Southern California surf culture in director John Milius’s acclaimed “Big Wednesday,” distributed on May 26, 1978. Image Credit: Cinematographer Bruce Surtees / Warner Bros.
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Lee Purcell comforts misunderstood prison escapee John Schneider as stone-faced lawman Kirk Douglas closely monitors them with a pump action shotgun in a scene from “Eddie Macon’s Run,” released on March 23, 1983 by Universal. Photography by Dean Williams / NBCUniversal
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At the close of the debut season of “Matlock,” a March 6, 1987 file photo depicts television icon Andy Griffith confidently standing outside his home in Toluca Lake, California. Photography by Doug Pizac / AP Photo
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John-Boy Walton [Richard Thomas] and dare-devil Bobby Strom [Lee Purcell] have a blast during the filming of “The Wing-Walker,” an October 23, 1975 episode of beloved family series “The Waltons.” Image Credit: CBS Photo Archive / Warner Bros.
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In 2009, just before signing up for a brief stint on NBC’s science fiction soaked “Persons Unknown,” a dazzling Lee Purcell models a jeweled, brown evening gown. Image courtesy of Lee Purcell
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An official portrait of ravishing actress Lee Purcell in 2015. That same year she was cast in the fantasy horror comedy “Kids vs. Monsters” as Francine Gingerfield, one of the six richest folks in the world and incidentally the sole surviving world political leader. Photography by Robert Kazandjian
Watch Lee Purcell in her second guest turn on the long-running “Marcus Welby, M.D.” medical drama with leading man Robert Young. Entitled “Solomon’s Choice,” the episode aired as the third season finale with Purcell as a pregnant girl facing a difficult choice. Video Credit: ABC / Universal Studios Home Entertainment
See the thrilling trailer for “Big Wednesday,” a 1978 coming-of-age surfing drama starring Jan-Michael Vincent, Gary Busey, and Lee Purcell. Video Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment
Watch an acting reel containing Lee Purcell’s best-known roles, including her Emmy-nominated turns in “Long Road Home” with Mark Harmon and Canadian crime dramedy “Due South.” Video Credit: The Lee Purcell Collection

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Retro pop culture interviews & lovin’ someone fierce sustain this University of Georgia Master of Agricultural Leadership alum. Email: jeremylr@windstream.net

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