Linda Lee John­son

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - LIFETRIBUTES -

June 20, 1944 - Septem­ber 2, 2018

Linda Lee John­son, an ac­com­plished artist of many ta­lents, in­clud­ing ca­reers as an ac­tress, sculp­tor, and de­signer of dis­tinc­tive fine jew­elry, died on Septem­ber 2 at her home in Wash­ing­ton DC. She was 74 and had lived with cancer for more than a decade. An in­tel­li­gent, vi­va­cious, wil­lowy blond beauty, the 25-year old Linda Lee won her first lead­ing role as Psy­che in John Ar­gue’s Eros and Psy­che at Ac­tors’ Open Hand The­atre, Berke­ley, CA. She was an orig­i­nal mem­ber of Berke­ley Reper­tory The­atre where she acted in more than 20 pro­duc­tions in the 1970s. There she starred as lead­ing lady in Char­lie’s Aunt, Ham­let (Ophe­lia), The Im­por­tance of Be­ing Ernest, Of Mice and Men, Bus Stop, and Pri­vate Lives, among oth­ers. In 1978, she moved to New York City to act in pro­duc­tions across the east coast, and started work­ing on two of her three long­time in­ter­ests: sculp­ture and jew­elry, the third be­ing her love of in­te­rior de­sign. Her sculp­ture and func­tional ob­jects were avail­able at the Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art’s store, and more re­cently at Kel­ley Roy Gallery. Orig­i­nally sold at Tif­fany’s, Linda Lee’s jew­elry has been car­ried ex­clu­sively since 1989 by Bar­neys New York. Her work in gold and pre­cious stones has been de­scribed as dis­tinc­tive by ad­mir­ers as “an­cient and mod­ern at the same time.

Linda Lee was born in Chicago on June 20, 1944. Her fa­ther was a navy avi­a­tor who died in WWII when Linda Lee was an in­fant. Af­ter her mother mar­ried an­other naval avi­a­tor, the fam­ily moved to Alameda, CA. Linda Lee, at­tend­ing Alameda High School, was cho­sen as the Amer­i­can Field Ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tive to Greece, later cred­it­ing her ex­pe­ri­ence as an ex­change stu­dent with de­vel­op­ing her in­ter­est in the­atre, sculp­ture, and an­cient jew­elry. She also stud­ied French in high school. In 1962 she was cho­sen by Gov­er­nor Pat Brown to make one of the first transat­lantic calls to France us­ing Tel­star satel­lite tech­nol­ogy. She grad­u­ated in 1966 with a de­gree in English lit­er­a­ture and drama from the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley. She was a mem­ber of the Kappa Kappa Gamma soror­ity.

Linda Lee was mar­ried and di­vorced three times. She leaves a half-brother, James Wigge of Cazen­ovia, NY and nieces Erin Wigge of An­napo­lis, MD and Mary Kathryn Wigge of Char­lottesville, VA. Known to her friends as Lulu, for the past 14 years she has lived in Wash­ing­ton DC and Long Lake, Adiron­dacks, NY. For the past 10 years her mini-poo Ch­ester was her con­stant com­pan­ion. In both Wash­ing­ton and Long Lake, Linda Lee was an ac­tive mem­ber of her Epis­co­pal church. A me­mo­rial ser­vice is be­ing planned for Nov. 3 at the Church of the As­cen­sion and St. Agnes in Wash­ing­ton DC. Her many friends will re­mem­ber Linda Lee’s gen­tle spirit, her gen­eros­ity, and her bound­less ca­pac­ity for com­pas­sion. Mem­o­ries may be shared at her Dig­ni­tyMe­mo­rial.org web­site.

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