BEVERLY HILLS, CA SUNDAY, MAY 16, 2004
On Friday evening, May 14, 2004 Anna Lee died at her home with her son Jeffrey (Bryon) by her side.
"It was very peaceful and mom died with dignity and grace, just as she lived her life," said Byron.
Anna Lee formerly, Joan Boniface Winnifrith, was born on January 2, 1913 in Great Britain. She became an actress very young in her life, did movies in Britain and even worked with Alfred Hitchcock before moving to the United States and doing such acclaimed hits as "How Green Was My Valley," "Fort Appache," What Ever Happened to Baby Jane" to name a few.
She was most recently known as Lila Quartermaine on ABC's daytime drama General Hospital. A role she played for decades. A beloved actress, she married prolific writer Robert Nathan (Portrait of Jennie, The Bishop's Wife) in 1970.
In later years her health deteriated, however she continued working until recently. Several months ago, word came down from ABC daytime that they were taking Lee off contract and placing her on recurring status. It wasn't long before the cry went out from her long time and loyal fans fearing that the esteemeed Quartermaine matriarch was being written off the show.
"Anna Lee has been a beloved cast member of General Hospital for many years," reassured the GH spokesperson at that time. "It is our intent to continue to use her in a recurring role as Lila Quartermaine on the show as storyline may dictate." Now, unfortunately, and so sad to say, Lila has gone on to greener pastures along with her portrayer.
"We will miss mom very much but she will always be a part of our lives," said the family.
In a statement released Monday, May 17, 2004, Jeffrey Byron, son of Anna Lee commented...
"On behalf of my family, we grieve for our mother's passing, but we also know she is in a better place. She had an extraordinary 91 years, and both touched and inspired everyone she met. Her milky white skin and English rose complexion was unmatched; and I don't think it is an exaggeration to say... she was one of the most beautiful actresses to ever grace the screen. Though small in stature, she had an indomitable spirit, and was the backbone of her family. No matter what obstacle lied ahead, she accomplished everything she ever tried. She was a pioneer woman wrapped in perfume and lace. She will be missed, but never forgotten."
Soapdom sends our deepest sympanthies to the family. We will keep Anna Lee and her family in our thoughts and prayers. Anna Lee was 91 years old at passing. She will be missed. Any donations can be made in Anna Lee's name to The Disabled Veterans of America or The Royal Oak Foundation.
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