Her children, William James Bell, Bradley Phillip Bell, and Lauralee Bell Martin (Christine Williams), announced in a statement that their mother had passed.
“Our mother was a loving and supportive wife, mother, and grandmother. Gracious and kind, she enriched the lives of all who knew her. We will miss her tremendously.”
In 1973, Lee and her husband William J. Bell, co-created the No. 1 rated CBS Daytime Drama. They also created B&B together in 1987. The soaps they founded are widely considered some of the world’s most successful. However, Lee was also an Emmy winning journalist who produced her show in Chicago, The Lee Phillip Show, for CBS for three decades, and she’s considered a pioneer of the afternoon talk show format. Her talk show took an early interest in social issues that inspired many of the afternoon talk show hosts who came after her.
During her long career, Bell got the opportunity to interview many household names. Among those she spoke with are Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan as well as actors Judy Garland, Clint Eastwood, and Jerry Lewis. Bell also talked to The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. Plus, she got to speak with personalities like Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, and Oprah Winfrey.
The Chicago chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences named Lee the first female winner of the Governor’s Award in 1977. She also won 16 regional Emmy’s during her time in Chicago, and the TV legend received several Golden Mike Awards throughout her career.
Lee also counted some Daytime Emmy Awards among her many accolades. She won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series in 1975 for co-creating Y&R, and in 2007, Lee received the Daytime Emmys’ Lifetime Achievement Award.
On Thanksgiving, Lauralee shared a picture on Instagram of her family gathered with Lee featured front and center at a large table. Lauralee called her mother “the sweetest mom” in her caption. Just eight weeks ago, the soap opera veteran shared a picture of herself next to her mother covered in a handmade blanket. Since then, the actress has not posted pictures of her mom on her social media.
So far, there is no information on Lee’s cause of death. She is survived by her three children, their spouses, and eight grandchildren. Her husband William preceded her in death in April 2005.