By Vanessa Fuleihan
Lee Armstrong of Greenville is a man of many roles. Scholar, teacher, actor, comedian, and husband all blend together inside this talented man who has appeared in more than 70 films and continues his involvement as theater instructor at Pitt Community College.
His talents have been applied to unique roles, including a booze-swilling parent, a crime boss, a lonely neighbor, a clothing store clerk, a lethal bartender, a government official, and a man having sex in the woods.
He has been in over 70 films to date. A part in the NBC television series “Real People,” got him into the SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists). The first major movie he was in was “Homer and Eddie,” (1989) which stared James Belushi and Whoopi Goldberg.
Lee has a hard time picking one that is the most memorable. “There are many things that have been important to me,” he said. “It’s almost dangerous to ask an actor to talk about himself,” Lee added.
His first lead was in an East Carolina University short film “Puddlejumper.” He played a homicidal clown. It was a learning experience, showing him that he could carry a film.
Another memorable role was as the angel of mercy in a small independent film called “Dead End Job.” That movie won the Audience Choice Award at the Cape Fear Independent Film Festival, an honor that makes Lee proud.
Lee tests his range regularly as a performer in Ooops! Comedy Improv. He has been with this group for seven years. Ooops! performances are held at the Greenville-located Tipsy Teapot. The group’s first DVD, “Live at the Tipsy Teapot,” has just been published and will be sold for $10 at live shows.
Lee was born in Winterset, Iowa, the birthplace of John Wayne. Lee’s father was in the Navy, which meant moving to various bases as Lee was growing up.
While in the third grade, Lee took on his first acting job, playing Professor Bhaer in Little Women. He remembers this play very well because he had one line, “Marry me” — which he forgot on stage.
Lee attended Illinois State University for his undergraduate degree and completed his master’s at the University of Iowa. A career in theater began for him in college, but, afterwards, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue film work. Lee moved to Greenville, N.C. after his wife, Roselyn, got a job at Pitt Community College.
Lee himself began to teach at Pitt in 1991. He currently instructs four theater classes — Acting for the Camera being his favorite.