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Stephen Lee, a busy character actor for nearly four decades, died Aug. 14 in his Los Angeles apartment from a heart attack, according to his friend, actress Lisa Pescia. He was 58.
Lee played an inquisitive contractor who’s installing new kitchen cabinets in Jerry’s apartment in a 1997 episode of NBC’s Seinfeld and appeared as Tony B., a mobster and police informant, on several installments of CBS’ Nash Bridges.
He portrayed Tom Arnold in a 1994 NBC telefilm, Roseanne and Tom: Behind the Scenes. And in the 1987 Ritchie Valens biopic La Bamba, he played the Big Bopper.
A native of New Jersey, Lee also had small roles in such films as WarGames (1983), RoboCop 2 (1990), The Negotiator (1998) and Burlesque (2010).
Lee received his first onscreen credit for a 1981 episode of Hart to Hart and went on to appear on such TV shows as Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Who’s the Boss?, Hill Street Blues, Valerie, Family Ties, Herman’s Head, Roseanne, Quantum Leap, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Everybody Loves Raymond, Cybill, Murder One, The Drew Carey Show, Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS and Bones.
He had recurring roles on the short-lived series Gung Ho, based on the Michael Keaton movie, and City, a comedy created by Paul Haggis that starred Valerie Harper.
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