Lee Calvert, 98, Charms the Audience

Lee Calvert spoke to members of the Woman’s Club. She is next to sports writer Steve Galluzzo, who has covered her numerous championships.
Photo: Carole Taub

One of Pacific Palisades true treasures, Lee Calvert, 98, (she’ll be 99 in August) spoke to the Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club on July 11.

“Needless to say, finding Lee was like winning the lottery,” said Carole Taub, who organizes guest speakers for the club’s monthly dinner meeting.

Taub wrote about the event in the PPWC’s newsletter, “All decked out in her blue vintage suit, Lee Calvert was a smash hit.

“She filled the audience with details of her long life, from hopes of becoming a radio actress, to stage actress, and continuity guru with TV and film scripts,” Taub wrote.

Calvert moved to Tahitian Terrace with her children in the early 60s, so her daughter could attend the newly opened Palisades High School.

Once her children were out of high school, Calvert started her own business as a Hollywood continuity script transcriber. (A continuity transcript is a media script giving the complete action, scene descriptions, music, graphics in detail and in the order in which they are shown on the screen.)

She began her work with “The Lucy Show” for Desilu Productions in 1964. Calvert enjoyed her work for Lucille Ball who owned the production company Desilu with her then husband Desi Arnaz.

Despite being afraid of Lucille Ball, Calvert loved to watch her work. “She would try anything.”

Calvert even worked on the early Tom Hanks sitcom “Bosom Buddies.”

When Desilu sold to Paramount, Calvert said her heart sank. She feared the bigger studios had continuity departments and she was just a “little independent working out of the Palisades.” She learned that many did not, and her business thrived.

To stay relevant with the changing technology, Lee, a 1941 Santa Monica High School graduate, went back to college to learn computers.

For 40 years, Calvert had two women working for her as they provided continuity for “The Good Wife,” “NCIS” and “Rules of Engagement.” She retired when she was 89.

Lee said that she liked competition but was terrible in sports. “When I went to the gym to play on teams, I was the last one picked.”

And then she discovered badminton. Taub wrote, “She’s won hundreds of awards, and known throughout the world in her senior tournaments.

“In the late 80’s, as a result of a knee replacement, she had to give up badminton, and immediately took up table tennis,” Taub said. “And once again, the champaign, Lee Calvert, shined.”

Calvert was inducted in the Badminton Hall of Fame and won three gold medals at the Huntsman World Senior Games in paddle tennis. Calvert says she never thought of age as a handicap.

The nonagenarian told Woman’s Club members that her nightly routine is: push-ups, sit-ups and chest raises, 15 of each.

“A go-getter, this lady, indeed, is a true inspiration,” Taub said. “Give her a challenge, and you’ve got her full attention.”

When Taub, the evening’s moderator asked a final question, “Lee what do you want to do on your 100th birthday?”

Calvert responded, “I want to do pushups.”

Lee Calvert, 98, does pushups every day.
Photo: Alison Burmeister

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2 Responses to Lee Calvert, 98, Charms the Audience

  1. Marymcole says:

    I would have loved to have been at the Woman’s club to hear Lee speak. She is
    an amazing lady. I volunteered at the Chamber office and Arnie loved her visits there!

  2. Martina DiLillo says:

    Most inspirational story! No more whining for me. Thank you!

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