Irving Lee

A Profile in Routes: A Guide to African American Culture
(January, 1980)

At a time when few black actors are finding steady work, Irving Allen Lee can count himself among a small, lucky circle of peers who have overcome immense racial barriers to obtain regular employment in the insecure world of show business.

For nearly three years now, Lee has played detective Calvin Stoner in the long-running soap opera The Edge of Night. At the same time, he has been raking in impressive credits from the Broadway musical stage, where he performed in A Broadway Musical, Ain’t Misbehavin, Pippin and Rockabye Hamlet.

All this sounds very impressive, but it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Irving. Earlier this year, Lee had a short-lived starring role in A Broadway Musical, when the show closed after one performance. Yet rather than becoming discouraged, Lee began directing a play by Woodie King while simultaneously appearing in The Edge of Night and standing by nightly for Ken Page and Andre DeShields in Ain’t Misbehavin’.

Once when Andre was on a week’s vacation and his replacement couldn’t cut it, Irving had to sing and dance his way through 32 songs each night — after a hard day’s work in front of the camera. “It was the most difficult thing I have ever done, but I enjoyed the hell out of it,” he reminisces.

NFT Credits

Credit Type Production Season
Director Hot Dishes! (A Black Retrospective 1) 1978-79 Season
Choreographer Hot Dishes! (A Black Retrospective 1) 1978-79 Season