Vivian Lee R.I.P

Added on 29th August 2012


Vivian Lee, well known Guyanese entrepreneur in the world of entertainment, advertising, and broadcasting, passed away on August 16th, 2012 in Richmond, B.C. He was the son of Lee Yew, an immigrant from Canton, China and the former Adelaide DeFreitas.
After attending St. Angela's Primary, St. Mary's R.C, and St. Stanislaus College, he worked at the B.G. Pawnbrokery before joining the Civil Service two years later. In sports, he was a right-winger for a number of football teams, including the Charlton Gunners which he helped found.  As a member of the B.G National Team he scored against Surinam in competition and against Brazil in a friendly match.  His exploits on the football field, in tandem with Alvin Rodrigues, were legendary. 
He travelled to Trinidad where he was a Lieutenant in the Auxiliary Services during WWII and later studied all aspects of broadcasting in the US. He went on to produce a phletora of radio programs and variety stage shows, including Ovaltine Kids, the Gong Show, Let's Have a Party, and the popular XM Hit Parade.
His major contribution to the music industry was undoubtedly the creation of Ace Records Ltd. which included the record store at Robb and King Streets. The first person to record the Mighty Sparrow ("Jean and Dinah"), Vivian also wrote, produced, and recorded the very popular "Princess Margaret" sung by Lord Canary. This hit was presented to the Princess at a public ceremony during her 1959 state visit to the then British Guiana. He also discovered, managed and recorded Johnny Braff (It Burns Inside), the first Guyanese pop star.
In 1972, he responded positively to a request to organize, promote, produce and emcee a week-long concert and show at the National Park for the first CARIFESTA. This task involved organising and programming acts from over 30 Caribbean countries and was truly a memorable event.  
"If Wishes were Horses", the first Guyanese film, was also written by Vivian who was responsible for casting, scouting locations,producing and directing it. Habeeb  Khan, the central character in the movie, has recorded how eternally grateful he is to Vivian for recognising certain "commercial talents" in him and mentions the two years of planning that Vivian had put into the project. It was a truly Guyanese production since only the soundman and the cameraman were foreign. Habeeb also was the star of Laffarama, a series of shows and tours which included songs and scripts written by Vivian.
Even when Vivian left Guyana for Canada, his enterprise and creativity knew no bounds. He published a book, completed a University degree, developed, produced and marketed an award-winning board game and got involved in the formation of the Guyanese Canadian Association of British Columbia. To say that he had a full life is a major understatement.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife and family.