Joan Lee, the wife of Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, died Thursday in Los Angeles, according to media reports. She was 93.
Joan Lee suffered a stroke earlier in the week and was hospitalized, according to the report. The former British hat model and Lee were married on Dec. 5, 1947, and were by all accounts hopelessly devoted to each other. They had two children: J.C. (Joan Celia), who was born in 1950, and Jan, who died three days after her birth in 1953.
In some versions of the origin of the “Fantastic Four,” Lee credits Joan with inspiring him. He was depressed about his career (Lee had dreams of becoming a serious novelist) and the state of comics (the industry in the 1950s was dominated by stories of war, science fiction and romance, genres he didn’t like) and contemplated leaving the business.
“Before you quit,” Joan told him, “why don’t you write one comic you are proud of?” And thus was born the Fantastic Four.
In 1981, the Lees moved from New York City to California so Stan could work on developing Marvel TV and film projects. Joan did voice work on two 1990s animated Marvel shows, “Fantastic Four” (as Miss Forbes) and “Spider-Man” (as Madame Web). She also made a cameo in 2016’s “X-Men: Apocalypse.”
Joan Lee also wrote a 1987 novel, “The Pleasure Palace,” about a man striving to build the most luxurious ocean liner ever while romancing several women at once.
The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news of Joan Lee’s passing.