Dorothy Lee (actress)

Dorothy Lee (born Marjorie Elizabeth Millsap, May 23, 1911 – June 24, 1999) was an American actress and comedian during the 1930s. She appeared in 28 films,[1] usually appearing alongside the Wheeler & Woolsey comedy team.

Dorothy Lee
Marjorie Elizabeth Millsap

(1911-05-23)May 23, 1911
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
DiedJune 24, 1999(1999-06-24) (aged 88)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Years active19271941
Spouse(s)Robert Booth (19271929)
Jimmy Fidler (19311931)
Marshall Duffield (19331935)
A.G. Atwater (19371939)
Frank John Bersbach Jr (19411960)
Charles Calderini (19601985)
Parent(s)Homer and Bess Millsap


Born in Los Angeles, Lee was the daughter of Homer and Bess Millsap.[2]

Lee started seeking film roles in 1929, after graduating from high school, but ended up in New York City working on the stage. Her first film was Syncopation (1929).[1] At 18, she signed with RKO Radio Pictures and began working with Wheeler & Woolsey; she became so identified with the comedians that she seldom appeared apart from them.

She withdrew from the series after producer David O. Selznick tampered with her performance in Girl Crazy; she returned when Selznick's successor Mark Sandrich cast her in two well-received features in 1934. RKO replaced her with Mary Carlisle and then Betty Grable, but she returned in 1935 for two final appearances.

In the early 1940s, after Robert Woolsey had died, Bert Wheeler was struggling to re-establish himself as a solo performer, and asked Dorothy Lee to tour with him in vaudeville. She immediately interrupted her private life to help her old friend.

Personal life

Lee was married six times, including briefly to Hollywood gossip columnist Jimmie Fidler. She had four children by her fifth husband, Frank John Bersbach Jr. who was a son of Manz Corporation VP Frank John Bersbach Sr. Her last husband was Charles J. Calderini.[3]


Lee died in June 24, 1999, at the age of 88, in San Diego, California from respiratory failure.

Partial filmography


  1. "Dorothy Lee; Co-Starred in Comedy Films". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. July 3, 1999. p. 24.
  2. Brotherton, Jamie; Okuda, Ted (2013). Dorothy Lee: The Life and Films of the Wheeler and Woolsey Girl. McFarland. p. 5. ISBN 9780786433636. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  3. Page, Eleanor (April 19, 1976). "Dorothy Lee: A collector's item for film fans". Chicago Tribune. Illinois, Chicago. p. Section 3 - 3. Retrieved August 2, 2018 via
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