Every wonder how a character’s words get into the bubbles in a comic? For Lee Goldsmith, it’s second nature. Writing for some of our country’s most iconic comic books such as The Flash, The Green Lantern and Wonder woman, Goldsmith has written the comic scripts that people have read in awe. The thoughts and words of men and women clad in tights, battling evil and protecting the Earth and countless other universes from ultimate destruction, have rolled off his pen.
Now living at East Ridge at Cutler Bay, Goldsmith enjoys sharing his life’s accomplishments. East Ridge honored him recently with a Super Hero’s event which was attended by residents and people from in and around the Cutler Bay area.
He has been featured in the Miami Herald too. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/gay-south-florida/article29986455.html and http://www.miamiherald.com/living/article28718788.html
Having finished his army service in 1946, he lacked a college education. His start in the comic business was a chance meeting with an editor at DC Comics in New York.
“He became my mentor and taught me everything about this very specialized type of writing,” Goldsmith explains.
Working for the famous DC Comics, Goldsmith was among a dozen writers who have left their mark on this ever popular art form.
In the mid-1940s and into the 50’s, he transitioned to the National Romance Group to write for love story comics geared to teenage girls. Goldsmith recalls his ability to get into the teenage girl’s mind and empathize with her emotions brought him success writing for Girls’ Love Stories. These comics ran for 180 issues ending in 1973.
Warner Brothers bought DC Comics and offered Lee an opportunity to relocate to California but his roots were in New York and Florida and he didn’t want to move to the west coast.
In 1970, a new door opened when a contact at a theater publishing house in New York introduced him to composer Lawrence Hurwit. He had always wanted to be a lyricist having been introduced to musical theater as a child when he first saw Ethel Merman in Anything Goes on Broadway.
With Hurwit, he wrote Sextet, a Broadway musical starring TV’s Designing Woman star Dixie Carter. It began previews on Feb. 20, 1974 and opened March 3 at the Bijou Theater on 45th Street. Goldsmith collaborated on the book and wrote the lyrics. While the show only had 14 previews and nine Broadway performances, it was considered a trendsetter as an adult musical.
With composer Roger Anderson, Goldsmith wrote Chaplin which won the prestigious South Florida’s Carbonell award for best new work. The musical had its UK premiere in 2007 at the Guildford School of Acting Conservatoire. On opening night, Goldsmith was sitting in the balcony and recalls being scared.
“You don’t know how the adult will react. You wait until the first intermission to gauge their approval,” he said.
A stage manager came to him and said that someone from the audience wanted to meet him. To his amazement, it was Chaplin’s star Claire Bloom. She told Goldsmith that Charlie would have been so proud of the play. Her kind words brought tears to his eyes.
Over the years, Goldsmith and Anderson have collaborated on seven musicals and the most recent is entitled, Abe, about the life of Abraham Lincoln. He feels it’s a perfect production for a high school drama class since the play features a large cast of 32 characters and the musical score uses bold, melodic and traditional musical theater styles.
Goldsmith moved to East Ridge and enjoys his East Ridge villa which overlooks the nature preserve and has an easterly view and plenty of windows. The fact that the retirement community was pet friendly was especially appealing since his cat, Negrito, is an important part of the family.
Goldsmith keeps his mind sharp by writing limericks which can be used at weddings to bar mitzvahs. They’ve even appeared in the East Ridge newsletter!
“I’m 92,” he said. “I just want to have a good time.”