Actress and Playwright Lee Chamberlin Passes Away at 76

Lee Chamberlin, an actress and playwright whose career spanned four decades on the stage, television and films, died of cancer at 76 on May 25, 2014. Her death was confirmed by her family.

Her acting career began on the New York stage in a production of Amiri Baraka's, then known as LeRoi Jones, "Slaveship." She was an original cast member of "The Electric Company" on PBS from 1971-73, along with Bill Cosby, Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno and others.

In 1973, she played Cordelia in the Shakespeare in the Park production of "King Lear" alongside James Earl Jones, Paul Sorvino, Rosalind Cash and Ellen Holly.

She co-starred with Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier in two of the more popular film comedies of the 1970s, "Uptown Saturday Night" (1974) and "Let's Do It Again" (1975). Both of these comedies were popular with black audiences who sought out more positive African American representation in the media, other than the "Blaxploitation" genre so popular at the time.

During the 1970s and 80s, Chamberlin appeared or starred in many popular television shows such as "Lou Grant," "The White Shadow," "Diff'rent Strokes," "The Practice," "Moesha," "NYPD Blue," "Roots: The Next Generations," "Touched By an Angel" and many others.

From 1983-95, she was a regular on the ABC soap opera "All My Children" as Pat Baxter.
Her first love was the theater, however, and in 2010 she founded the Playwrights' Inn Project in France. The Playwrights' Inn Project developed works of diverse American playwrights, including women and people of color, traditionally underserved in the play development process.

She is survived by her father, Bernando LaPallo (b. August 17, 1901) a sister Nandra Gant of Lexington, NC, a daughter Erika Chamberlin of Brooklyn, NY (51) and a son Matthew Chamberlin (47) of Chapel Hill, NC. She also had two grandchildren.

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