Seattle and Los Angeles actor Anthony Dwain Lee was shot dead by the Los Angeles Police Department Oct. 28 at a Halloween Party. Lee, 39, had in his possesion a solid grey prop gun made to look like a .357 Desert Eagle semiautomatic handgun.
Two LAPD officers were investigating a noise complaint made by the neighbors when Officer Tarriel Hopper fired nine shots at the actor through a West Los Angeles mansion window. The 27-year-old officer is on paid leave while the LAPD and county district attorney look into the death.
While working in Los Angeles since 1994 (his TV and film credits have included "N.Y.P.D. Blue," "Brooklyn South" and "Liar Liar"), Lee was most at home in the theatre, where a $30 acting course once rescued him from gang life with The Crips in Sacramento. Seattle was his theatrical base and his roles there were varied from Shakespeare's noble, but jealous Othello to the zoot-suited hustler Sweet Back in Spunk.
Lee's Seattle debut was in The Colored Museum at the Empty Space Theatre in 1988. He also played Mr. Rose, the anguished father caught in a sexual relationship with his daughter in The Cider House Rules at Seattle Repertory Theatre, the Chicago chauffeur with a big dream in Raisin in the Sun at the Group Theatre and in the Intiman Theatre debut of The Kentucky Cycle.
His most recent Seattle appearance was in July 1999 when he played Astrov in The Art Theatre of Puget Sound's production of Uncle Vanya under the Russian director Leonid Anisimov. Lee's death has again raised issues of racism in the Los Angeles Police Department. The officer who shot Lee is also black.
-- By Christine Ehren