Thomas S. 'Tommy' Lee, son of Don Lee, was also in broadcasting. He ran the Don Lee Network following his father's untimely death and promoted television as an educational and informational medium in addition to entertainment.

A sportsman, he loved fast cars and fine yachts. His sailing talent won him a number of Star class events before ordering the R-boat Pirate from Lake Union Drydock Co. in 1925.

He raced Pirate for three seasons winning several important trophies in Southern California. He sold her in 1928.

After briefly sailing the Nick Potter-designed Six-Metre Harpoon, Lee ordered a new Potter Six, Caprice, from Wilmington Boat Works. He raced her in 1932 U. S. Olympic trials and won the San Diego Lipton Cup in 1933.

Caricature of Tommy Lee and Caprice,
done by caricature artist Billy Hon, who frequently worked at the Coconut Grove.

Tommy Lee never married. The love of his life was singer Maxine Gray, a favorite with several big band leaders of the day including John Scott Trotter, Lawrence Welk, Hal Kemp and Ted Weems. The two met at the Coconut Grove where Miss Gray was performing at the time. By 1940, she was a regular performer on KTSL and frequently appeared with piano great Art Tatum and conductor/arranger Skitch Henderson on the popular "California Melodies" TV show.

Maxine Gray


In 1948, KTSL-TV joined the Du Mont television network. In September of the same year, due to the effects of his brain cancer, Tommy was judged incompetent and management of his interests, including the stations, was turned over to trustees. On January 13, 1950, he leaped to his death from the 12th floor of the Wiltern Building.