UPDATED WITH RECORDING/ Updated with comments
(CNBNews)(Bellmawr, NJ)(June 7, 2021)--Dick Lee, singer, entertainer, TV star, and Night Club owner passed away on April 1, 2021, at his home in Los Angeles, California surrounded by his family. He was 91 and died of old age.
Dick, whose real name was Richard Lee Beurer, lived in Cherry Hill, NJ for many years. He was active in the community, loved sports and he coached several local teams. He grew up in Philadelphia where he got his start singing on Dennis James Show, "Chance of a Lifetime". He was the featured vocalist on the Sid Caesar TV Show, Arthur Godfrey Show, and Ted Mack
Show. Dick appeared several times on Dick Clark's American Bandstand and he and Clark had a lifelong friendship.
Over his long career as an entertainer, he had a number of hits that appeared on the top of the charts in the 1950s. In 1956 he opened a nightclub in Bellmawr on Crescent Blvd. He owned Dick Lees for 38 years. Some of the acts that appeared at his club included Little Anthony and the Imperials, The Platters, The Tramps, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Cinderella to name a few.
Three local bands that come to mind who got their start at Dick Lees were Bob Moore and The Temptations, Cookie Jar and The Crumbs, and Billy Harner (The human percolator), and his band The Expressions.
Some of the local residents who worked at the Club included Ken MacAdams who was a doorman, Bill Aldridge and William E Strom, "Billy Boy"who worked for Dick from the time he was a youngster into adulthood.
Strom said in a comment, "Dick and Ralph Lee were two of the most generous people I have ever met. I grew up in Dick Lees' and my memories of those times are the best times of my life. I worked with Ricky and Michael during our GO Go Days. Bartended next to Russell for many years. Went to so many of Beau's wrestling matches with Dick. Did all the mirrors with Ricky VanDexter at Dick Lee's as well as all the custom mirrors at his wife's shop, Patricia Lee's Designer Boutique in Cherry Hill. All that is secondary to the love I have for Dick and his entire family. He was my mentor and taught me the meaning of integrity, loyalty and honesty, as well as you are only as good as your word. The values he taught me are still with me today !! He was a great man too all that knew him but he is and always will be so special to me as I knew the man as well as the myth. I love you Dick may you Rest in Peace!"
Billy Boys full comment is below.
Bill Cleary, who worked at the Gloucester City Post Office as a letter carrier for many years while also working for the Gloucester City News, remembers Lee as a warm, pleasant person who always took the time to talk with him.
"For a time in the 60s, I delivered the mail to his club located on Crescent Blvd., across from St. Maurice Church. In later years it was The Pennant. The first time I was face to face with him I was awestruck. He was a TV star and a popular singer. Dick was a nice looking man, with his dark tan, blonde hair, and his warm smile. Even though he was a star, he was very approachable. He had a warm aura about him. If he was at the club, and I was delivering his mail, he would always stop what he was doing and chat with me for a few minutes. He was very congenial."
We asked his son Michael Beurer some questions about his Dad.
Beurer said, "At the time of his death he was living in Los Angeles. He lived a very healthy life. He just died of old age. "
"He was raised in Frankford Philadelphia. He bought a house on the west side of Cherry Hill in 1956. (Kingston Estates). Then we moved to the East side of Cherry Hill around 1970. He lived in Cherry Hill for approximately 44 years.
"He was a baseball coach..coaching Babe Ruth & Tri-County Leagues. He coached Orel Hershiser. My brother Rick pitched on the same rotation with him and I also played with Orel at Cherry Hill East. "
"Of course he ran the Night Club. I have a brother Beau who was one of the best wrestlers to come out of South Jersey. He is 17 years younger than me. So that kept him busy. When he moved to California I opened a restaurant with my Dad which we owned for 10 years before I sold it."
There were a lot of special moments. He was so involved with my sports growing up. He came to every game and practice. I went to Cherry Hill East for two years then transferred to Camden Catholic. I played football for them and we went to the State title game in 1976. My dad was so involved as a parent. I tried out for a football team in Philadelphia as a freshman for "The Little Quakers" (Matt Ryan from the Atlanta Falcons played for them) . It was out of Penn Charter. Bob Levy, who owned the Phillies at the time was the coach and sponsor. We played in Franklin Field, Vet Stadium, Texas Stadium, AstroDome & Florida. My dad and grandFather flew all over the country watching me play. The most special thing is that he was my best friend."
Dick Lee with Grace Kelly
"Growing up with a father who was famous was great. There were a lot of my friends in Cherry Hill whose fathers grew up with my dad in Philly. It had its perks too. When I moved to California my dad called Dick Clark. I went and met him and Mr. Clark got me an agent. Plus him owning a club was great too."
"He was an awesome Dad."
Dick was predeceased by his beloved wife Patricia in 1998. He is survived by his brother Ralph and his immediate family, Richard, Michael, Russell, Jennifer, Beu, daughter-in-law Shelley, and granddaughters Brittany, Cameron, and grandson Dylan.
The family is hosting a "Celebration of Life" to honor him. All are welcome!
Thursday, June 10 from 6 to 8 PM
Vera Bar and Grill
2310 W. Marlton Pike
Cherry Hill, NJ
For more information contact: [email protected]
EDITOR'S NOTE: The photos were provided by Michael Beurer, contact Mr. Beurer at the email address above for his permission to republish any of them.