Moonyeenn Lee

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Moonyeenn Lee (1944-2020) was an influential theatrical agent, casting director and producer.

Sometimes found as Moonyeen Lee


She was born in Johannesburg on 11 February, 1944, the daughter of the actress Shirley Hepburn, and she first appeared on stage when she jumped out of a hatbox for veteran SA actress and producer Taubie Kushlick in 1949.

She moved to England at the age of seven, where she spent most of her childhood with her mother. At 17 she started working as a clerk at a knitwear company in London, often modelling outfits for clients, and studied acting in her free time.

Moonyeenn was married to Leon Lee, a salesman, for five years, and they had two children, Cindy and David. They divorced in 1973. In 1974 she was trained as an agent by James Fraser of Fraser and Dunlop, and began Moonyeenn Lee Associates (MLA).

Her daughter Cindy, became an advertising director and her son David, an actor, known as David S. Lee.

Moonyeenn died due to complications caused by the COVID-19 virus on Saturday, 18 July 2020, in Johannesburg.

Contribution to the theatre, film, media and performance industry in South Africa

The Moonyeenn Lee Associates agency managed the careers of many actors, directors and writers

Working exstensively in film, she managed the casting of films such as The Bang Bang Club, Disgrace, Tsotsi, Fanie Fourie's Lobola, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Hotel Rwanda, Blood Diamond, Black Panther and Life, Above All, among many others.

She also formed the production company Khulisa Productions to make films. The first project for which she wrote the script and produced was the film Promised Land, based on the novel by Karel Schoeman (2003).

She was the first SA member of both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which votes for the Oscars, and the Television Academy, which votes for the Emmys.

In 2017 Lee received the Lionel Ngakane Lifetime Achievement Award at the SA Film & Television Awards.


Die Burger 17 December 2011.

SACD 1978/79

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