Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol

A blog dedicated to the making of the first animated Christmas special, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Lea Orgel, 1925-2014

Lea and Lee Orgel shortly after their arrival in California.
It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Lea Orgel, the wife of Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol creator, Lee Orgel, who left us early in the morning of September 30, 2014.  Although her name would likely not be familiar to any of the readers of this blog or my book, she was the person most responsible for my decision to write the book on the making of Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol.  If it hadn't been for her razor sharp mind and her retention of key documents from the production of the special, there wouldn't have been any story to tell.  What I found in interviewing her and in reviewing the documents was that there was a story so compelling it had to be shared with others.

Lea freely gave of her time for a number of interviews and generously allowed me to borrow and scan documents and photos for use in the book.  Until then, who knew that the groundbreaking special's song recording sessions had been photographed?  It was also through her that I met others who had worked at UPA and who could fill me on some of the studio's back story during the Saperstein years.  She was never anything but supportive of my efforts to do the book for which I will be eternally grateful.  And when I wanted to tell more of her husband's story than I could fit in the book, she dug deep into her files and memories and shared them with me and ultimately, many others through this blog (Lee's profile can be found here).

Lea Orgel and daughter JoAnn at the 45th anniversary party for the Christmas special.
I think the thing I found to be most inspiring about Lea, though, was her enduring love for her husband, who had predeceased her by a decade.  She never dwelt in the past but it was clear to me that they had once formed a team so strong that although the two of them had been separated, the bond would never be broken.  Finally, the team is together again.  Thank you, Lea, for having entered my life, and thank you, Lee, for the gift of Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol.


Joe R. Frinzi said...

So glad she was able to contribute to the commentary track with you, Darrell. Her recollections were priceless.

Unknown said...

Also their daughter JoAnn was a dancer during the 1970s on American Bandstand.