Broadway actor Quentin Oliver Lee, who portrayed the enigmatic Phantom in the highly praised 2018 North American tour of “The Phantom of the Opera,” passed away at the young age of 34.
Angie Lee Graham, the wife of Lee who is from Utah, announced the news on her husband’s Instagram profile.
It was flawless and serene. He adores those who are surrounded by and his smile was on his face. I felt his heartbeat slowly drifting away and his hand held tightly, as I witnessed his final breaths. She penned it.
Graham continued, “He was an incredible man, a disciple of Christ who had great faith in his Father in Heaven. He was not only an actor, singer, friend, brother, son, father, and husband, but also someone who touched and influenced the lives of many communities and individuals. It is important to note that his impact cannot be fully captured by simply saying ‘he will be missed dearly’.”
Lee passed away on December 1st, approximately six months after he disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer.
Who is Quentin Oliver Lee?
As per the Deseret News, Lee completed his studies at Northern Arizona University, earning a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance, and relocated to New York City with the aim of pursuing his aspirations in Broadway.
In July 2018, he visited Salt Lake City, a tour that revitalized the North American city. A few years later, he landed the role of the Phantom in a revived production. Prior to that, he spent his early days in New York, singing in the subway to earn money for food.
Being in the role of probably the most iconic in Broadway history, receiving standing ovations from a crowd of over 2,000 people, and later (singing in the subway) (thinking about going back), I’m humbled by it all, Lee told the Deseret News in 2018.
Lee was highly acclaimed for his depiction of the Phantom.
“However, Lee gracefully carries the burden,” Whitney Butters Wilde stated in her article for the Deseret News. “He skillfully guides the audience through a tumultuous journey of sentiments, portraying the Phantom in a way that is both unsettling and deserving of sympathy. Moreover, he flawlessly delivers each of the Phantom’s melodies with an otherworldly vocal accuracy — Michael Crawford’s Tony Award-winning portrayal as the original masked protagonist is widely regarded as iconic. Given the central role he plays, the Phantom shoulders a great deal of responsibility.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, he recently starred in an award-winning Off-Broadway production earlier this year. His credits on Broadway include the 2017 production of “Prince of Broadway” and the 2021 revival of Caroline.
Expressing his Mormon belief
Lee, who hails from San Bernardino, California, became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2010. It was at a church in the Harlem neighborhood where he crossed paths with his wife, Graham.
You should go on a date with him. He sings opera. That’s Quentin. The response is about her roommate. Graham recalled asking her about him and seeing her for the first time at church.
Graham, hailing from Orem, previously shared with the Deseret News, “And in my thoughts I pondered, ‘Indeed. I shall engage in a romantic relationship with him.'” “For he displayed immense charm and adeptness in social interactions — and possessed an imposing physique, a mysterious allure, and striking features.”
Lee’s faith was greatly influenced by his career. Throughout the years, their respective professions complemented and intertwined with one another, ultimately leading to their marriage in August 2015.
….I am still just a guy trying to do his best and serve God in whatever way he can, even though I am performing as the Phantom in Broadway’s production of The Salt Lake City. As the scripture from The Book of Mormon says, “When you are in the service of your fellow men, you are only in the service of your God.” Previously, he had told me, a member of the LDS Church, that it is important to know that it doesn’t necessarily have to be something fancy, big, or important to seem important. Whether you are working at a construction company, being a stay-at-home mom, or performing, it is important to do whatever it is that you feel is important. I think that is important for everybody to know.
Sharing his experience with being diagnosed with cancer
Lee disclosed in a June Instagram post that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 colorectal cancer.
According to the Caring Bridge website, in a journal entry on June 5, the individual stated, “Simultaneously, I experienced symptoms similar to those of IBS. This included rushing to the restroom and experiencing difficulties with eating.” They further mentioned, “On May 1st, I contracted Covid, and encountered various associated symptoms. The most challenging ones for a performer were struggling to breathe and experiencing fatigue.”
The actor stated that he experienced intense episodes of nausea whenever he tried to consume even a small amount of food or drink, and he continued to have these symptoms even after two weeks had passed since he contracted COVID-19.
He wrote, “The most confusing thing to say was the least. Instead of breathing every breath with painful pressure on my shoulder or ribs, it came like I had been congested during Covid, and my breathing was no longer as good as I had hoped. I was entirely spending too much time on the porcelain throne.”
Following multiple examinations, Lee received a diagnosis of colon cancer. The performer was transparent about his diagnosis throughout the subsequent few months.
Condolences to Lee inundated social media after the announcement of his passing.
The family of Lee Oliver Quentin is saddened to hear of the passing of Phantom. Our hearts are with Quentin’s friends and family as they shared on Twitter the brilliantly led North American tour of “Phantom” production on Broadway by Lee Oliver Quentin.
Lee is survived by his spouse and daughter, Samantha.
Graham expressed on Instagram, “Kindly comprehend if I am unable to reply, but have faith that your messages and affection have been perused and experienced. Samantha and I are backed and uplifted by our families and our personal beliefs.”