R. Andrew Lee, retired head of Universal Studios’ research department and a former member of the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, died May 15 of natural causes at the Sharon Care facility in West Hollywood, Calif. He was 78.
A native of Washington, D.C., he grew up in Illinois, where his father served as a professor of economics at the U. of Illinois. During World War II, Lee served under Gen. George Patton and defused land mines; he later took part in the liberation of Nazi concentration camps.
After the war, he received his bachelor of arts degree from Oberlin College and relocated to Los Angeles, where he earned his master of library science from USC. A stint in the library of the New York Daily Mirror and Collier’s magazine as a researcher was followed by his return to Los Angeles, where he signed on as a researcher for Universal.
During his 28-year career with U, he provided the photo and information research necessary for the production of many films, his work valued by writers, production designers and such luminaries as Alfred Hitchcock and Edith Head.
In 1968 he was promoted to the top spot in the research department and became a member of the AMPAS, serving on its board of governors 1973-75.
After his retirement from U in 1989, he remained active in the Academy as a member of the Foreign Film Committee.
He is survived by two brothers.