Spotlight on Lee Falk - Timeline

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Lee Falk
Lee Falk-40s.jpg
Biographical information
Born: April 28, 1911
Died: March 13, 1999
Nationality: Mini usa.gif American
Occupation: Writer

There exist many smaller biographies of Lee Falk, but all contain some minor errors. The purpose of this page is making a timeline of which each point has one or more references, other than Lee Falk himself.



  • 1911, April 28: Leon Harrison Gross is born in St. Louis to Eleanor Allina and Benjamin B. Gross.
  • 1911, May 14: became initiated into the covenant of Abraham, with Rabbi Dr. Leon Harrison as his godfather[1].
  • 1913: Eleanor and Benjamin Gross get divorced [2].
  • 1913, December: Eleanor Allina Gross remarries to Albert Falk Epstein [3], and from boyhood through his college education Leon was known as Leon Harrison Epstein.
  • 1915, April 19: Leon's brother Leslie Alan Epstein is born [4].
  • 1917, August: the family vacationing[5] at Lake Minnetonka for the balance of the season.


  • 1921, June: earned one of 1 000 new Ranger bicycles in a newspaper subscription competition[6]
  • 1924: Leon enrols at Soldan High School.
  • 1926, April 25: a poem, "Father and Son"[7] by Leon H Epstein at a meeting in the Temple Israel Brootherhood.
  • 1926, May 19: Leon's[8] confirmation.
  • 1928: Leon enrols at the University of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign.


  • 1932: Leon graduates from the Univerity of Illinois, Liberal Arts and Sciences - English [9]. Listed with: Zeta Beta Tau; Pi Delta Phi; Kappa Phi Sigma; The Daily Illini (1, 2, 3) and Honors Day (1, 2, 3).
  • 1932, October 9: ad: STUDENTS desiring tutoring in French, Latin, Greek or English lit. call Leon Harrison Epstein CA. 3658 [10].
  • 1933, May 2: Epstein is employed by an advertising agency and llives at 4615 Lindell boulevard. Besides the two operas, he has written an unpublished novel and during his years in school he was a frequent contributor to campus literary publications [11].
  • 1934, March 29: returning[12] with his father, Albert Epstein, from a two and a half weeks' trip to New York. "While in the east young Epstein submitted some of his literary and comic strip work to publishers and received very flattering commendation".
  • 1934, April 7: Leon copyrighted Mandrake the Magician under both the names Leon Harrison Epstein and Lee Falk [13].
  • 1934: by decree of the circuit court, St. Louis, Mo., Leon's name was legally changed from Leon H. Gross to Leon Harrison Epstein Falk [2].
  • 1934, June 11: Mandrake the Magician daily comic strip debutes.
  • 1935, February 3: Mandrake the Magician Sunday page debutes.
  • 1935, August: Leon returns[14] with his parents from a several weeks' visit to New York and nearby resorts.
  • 1935, October 1: Leon marries Louise Kanazireff, and honeymooned for a month in Mexico [15],[16].
  • 1936, February 17: The Phantom daily comic strip debutes.
  • 1936, September: visit[17] in Colerado, Hotel Chase, a few weeks before going to New York.
  • 1936, October 5: Lee and Louise Falk move to New York.
  • 1937, June 9: sailing[18] for a several months' tour in Europe.
  • 1937, October 14: Lee and Louise returns with S.S. Normandie, sailing from Southamton (England) to N.Y. [19] (address: 315 E. 68th St. - NYC NY)
  • 1937, (between Oct 21 and Dec 8): With[20] 3 or 4 other cartoonists in the Radio Show "Fathers of the Funnies" (aired over WINS (NY))
  • 1938, May: sailing[21] to Norway, Sweden and Russia. Later thay will meet Mrs. Falk's parents, who are visiting in Bulgaria.
  • 1938, May 31: Lee and Louise arrives Liverpool (England), sailing with SS Samaria from N.Y. via Boston, Greenock and Dublin. (proposed address in the UK: Chase Bank, Berkeley (80) London)
  • 1938, June 7: Albert Falk and Eleonor G. (G = Gross ?) Epstein sailing from New York to Plymouth (England) with S.S. Ile de France to visit their son Leslie. (address in London: Hotel Royal Court)
  • 1938, August 11: Albert and Eleonor Epstein returns with S.S. Saturnia, sailing from Trieste (Italy) to N.Y.
  • 1938, October 27: Lee and Louise Falk returns[footnotes 1] with S.S. Exochorda, sailing from Beirut (Syria) to N.Y. [19] (address: 235 E. 45th St. - NYC NY)
  • 1938, holiday season: visit[22] in St. Louis. Showed some interesting pictures (in color) of some unusual spots thar he visited in Russia (where they kept him under arrest until thay developed the films), along the Dalmation Cost and up the Nile. With Mrs. Falk he spent some time in Bulgaria visiting relatives and traveling through the Balkans.
  • 1939, May 28: The Phantom Sunday page debutes.
  • 1939, September 10: At the New York Journal-American Day rode[23] the Comic Carnival parade with Clayton Knight, Chic Young, Otto Soglow, Ad Carter, Ed Anthony, Ruth Carrol and Phil Davis. They also judged the 200 contestants, awarding cash prizes totaling $250 and merchandise.
  • 1939, December 25: visit[24] in St. Louis.


  • 1940, February 17: guest at Dr Harry Hagen's "True or False" show (radio show). Caroonists team: Georg McManus, Chic Young, Cliff Starrett, Lee Falk, Lyman Young and Jimmy Hatlo. Women writers team: Dorothy Kilgallen, Inez Robb, Prunella Wood, Ida Jean Kain Alice Hughes and Mrs Cornelius Beekman (Helen Ufford).
  • 1940, May 23: Lee and Louise's daughter Valerie Falk is born.
  • 1940: Lee Falk starts the Cambridge Summer Theatre with John Huntington and Miriam Battista.
  • 1940, December 3: guest at the "Professor Quiz" program (CBS), with Budd Mayer, Marion Pierce and Max Kurtz.
  • 1940, December 25: visit[25] in St. Louis.
  • 1941, February 1: Leon, Louise and Valerie leaving[26] for the Bahamas where they had taken a house for a three months' stay.
  • 1941, April 24: Lee, Louise and Valery returning with S.S. Evangelium, sailing from Nassau to N.Y. [19] (address: 235 E. 68th St. - NYC NY) They sailed from N.Y. with S.S. Evangeline of Eastern Steamship Line on February the 1st.
  • 1942: "Office of Facts & Figures" (later OWI) established a radio section in its Foreign Language Division with Lee Falk as chief [2][footnotes 2]. Chief of the Foreign Language Division was Alan MacGregor Cranston [2].
  • 1944, March 7: Lee H. Falk is enlisted as private at Fort Devens in Massachusetts [27].
  • 1945: Constance J. Moorehead Lilienthal acted at the Cambridge Summer Theatre.
  • 1945: Lee and Louise get divorced.
  • 1946, January 25: gossip press - Lee Falk, who "found" "Dark of the Moon," and Pride Paxton[footnotes 3], a Miami lass, may elope...
  • 1946: in addition to The Cambridge Summer Theatre Lee Falk and John Huntington operated the new Boston Summer Theatre.
  • 1946, July 30: Lee marries Constance Lilienthal and honeymooned for a week [28], best man was Alan MacGregor Cranston.
  • 1947, May 22: daughter, Diane born to Constance and Lee Falk.


  • (undated / maybe 1955): stay in Cuba where Lee became friend with Ernest Hemingway.
  • 1950, March: guest at Bill Slater's "Luncheon at Sardi's", aired from the famous theatrical resturant in New York. Explaining the technique of writing a successful adventure strip.
  • (undated): first summer vacations in a house rented in Truro (Barnstable County, Massachusetts, at the south part of Cape Cod’s tip, an area known as the "Outer Cape") at 41 South Pamet Road.
  • 1950, July: Lee is producer for the play "On The Town" at the Grist Mill Playhouse in Andover, New Jersey.
  • 1950, August 7: Lee Falk was the producer and supervisor of the comedy "On the Town" at Spa Summer Theatre in Saratoga Springs, New York.
  • 1951, Winter: Lee and his wife took a 100-acre estat, The Retreat filled with every palm tree known to man and with a small section filled with jungle plants called Green Hell, in Nassau (Bahamas) for their two months' vacation.[29]
  • 1951, September 5: birth of Conley, son of Lee and Connie Falk.
  • 1952, June: Lee spent a happy winter in New Mexico, visiting Indian ruins and writing a play (a serious drama).[30]
  • 1952, July: association with Al Capp (“Li’l Abner” creator) for the County Playhouse summer season in Framingham, Massachusetts.
  • 1953 and 1954: organizes some plays for the February theatre month at the Bahama Playhouse in Nassau, Bahamas.
  • 1954 (undated): Lee’s play "Happy Dollar" was staged 6 weeks in 1954 by the Theatre Inc., Houston, Texas.
  • 1954 (undated): divorce of Lee and Connie.
  • 1954 (undated): Lee manages the first Marblehead theatre summer season.
  • 1954, June: Made his headquarters in a little cottage on Peaches Point in Marblehead for the season. He brought his two 5-months-old boxers, Reef and Conch, with him from Bahamas.[31]
  • 1956, May: cited as collaborator in the generic of the French documentary film “Toute la mémoire du monde” (“All the World's Memories”), directed by Alain Resnais.
  • 1958, January: Lee produces and stages the play “Winkelberg” at the Renata Theater, in New York City.
  • 1959, December 30: gossip press - Lee Falk, creator of "Mandrake the Magician" (the comic strip), and actress Shirley Smith are about to commit Merger...


  • 1960 (undated) : purchase of the rented house (the house was nicknamed by Lee “Xanadu”; in 2012 the house, always the propriety of Elizabeth Falk-Moxley and Valerie Falk was estimated as being worth 1,107,700 US dollars.
  • 1961, August 29: birth of Marie Louise, granddaughter of Lee to Valerie and Pedro Silva.
  • 1962, December 15: birth of Antony grandson of Lee to Valerie and Pedro Silva.
  • 1964, January 24: birth of Rondi, granddaughter of Lee to Valerie and Pedro Silva.
  • 1964, May 6: guest speaker[32] at a combined luncheon meeting of the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Rotary Clubs.
  • 1964, May 31: (according a photo seller on ebay) Lee and friend Senator Cranston, attended the Martin Luther King rally held in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
  • 1965 (February/March): visit in Europe: in Italy for the first “International Exhibition of Comics” held in Bordighera (February 21 and 22) and in Paris, France.
  • 1965, May 2O: television appearance, with cartoonist Mort Walker and show host Alan Ludden, in the game-show "Password" broadcasted on the CBS network.
  • 1966 (undated): visit in Paris for the exhibition of Mandrake/Phantom which took place from 3 to 15 June.
  • 1966 (undated): publishing of “Eris”, a drama in one act firstly staged at the “Théâtre La Bruyère” in Paris the same year and then by American Theatre Company in 1970.
  • 1967, January 12: guest at Pierre Berton's CTV show (Canada).
  • 1967 (Spring): visit in Paris (France) for the exhibit about comics "Bande dessinée et figuration narrative".
  • 1967 (undated): publishing of "Home at Six", a one act comedy.
  • 1968, July 4-7: present at the International Convention of Comic Book Art held at the "Statler Hotel", 33rd Street, New York .
  • 1969, April 2: receives the NCS Service Award by the National Cartoonists Society.
  • 196? (undated): publishing of "The Flatlands", a play.
  • 1969, April 21: Reuben Awards dinner dance and show at Hotel Plaza (New York), a spoof-in Space titled "Rocket to Me" produced and directed by Lee Falk. The cast include Bob Dunn, Allan Jaffee, Howie Schneider, Irwin Hasen, Roy Doty, Mell Lazarus and Jerry Robinson.


  • 1970 (November 20 to 22): visit in Rio de Janeiro before leaving for Sào Paulo (arrival November 23), Brazil.
  • 1970 (November 25): speech at the "Congresso Internacional de Histórias em Quadrinhos" held in Sào Paulo (Art Museum), Brazil.
  • 1970 (in the last days of November): visit in Brasília, Brazil.
  • 1970 (December): visit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • 1971 (October): visit in Italy, wins “The Yellow Kid Award” at the Lucca Comics Conference.
  • 1971 (undated): Lee receives “The Roman Lifetime Achievement Award” by The Italian Minister of Culture.
  • 1971 (November): visit[33] in England.
  • 1972 (undated): acting of Lee for short appearance in the cast of the French film “L'An 01 (1973 Movie)” (part filmed in New York by Alain Resnais)
  • 1972 to 1975: writes five Phantom novels for the Avon Publications ("The Ghost Who Walks", "The Mysterious Ambassador", "Killer's Town", "The Vampires and the Witch" and "The Curse of the Two-Headed Bull").
  • 1972, September 19: visit in Stockholm (Sweden).
  • 1972, October 7: present in Paris for local Comics Convention, before leaving for London.
  • 1973, May 17: death of Lee's mother Eleanor.
  • 1973 (undated): writing of "Mandrake the Magician and the Enchantress” a musical, staged for the first time at the Lenox Arts Center at Wheatleigh.
  • 1975 (December): publishing in Playboy magazine of "Time is Money", a short story later said as base of the 2011 film “Time In” even if Lee Falk was not credited for it.
  • 1976, December 31: marriage with Elizabeth Moxley.
  • 1977 (September): visit in Oslo (Norway).
  • 1977, September 9: awarded by Svenska Serieakademin (The Swedish Academy of Comic Art) with the Adamsonstatyetten (Adamson Award) at a press conference (Serieakademin and Bulls Press) in Stockholm (Sweden).
  • 1978 (April): journey to China with his wife Elizabeth. On April 13, interview at the "Mandarin Hotel", in Honk Kong, for the newspaper "South China Mor‌ning Post".


  • 1980 (March/April): visit in Singapore (4 days), before going in Bombay (India) + Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bali.
  • 1983 (undated): visit in Copenhagen (Denmark).
  • 1984 (undated): visit in Italy. Invited at the 16th Italian Comics Conference in Lucca, receives a Yellow Kid Award in tribute for “A Life in Comics World”.
  • 1984, August: visit in Stockholm (Sweden).
  • 1985, May 22: awarded by Svenska Serieakademin (The Swedish Academy of Comic Art) with a diploma at Ramlösa Brunnshotell in Helsingborg (Sweden).
  • 1986 (undated): visits the recently opened "Fantomenland" in Eskilstuna (Sweden).
  • 1986, August 23: awarded by Svenska Serieakademin (The Swedish Academy of Comic Art) with Guld-Adamson (The Golden Adamson) at Bok-och biblioteksmässans bankett in Göteborg (Sweden).
  • 1986, November 10: awarded by The National Cartoonist Society with the "Silver T-Square" at a special dinner at Players Club (New York, USA).
  • 1988, March: visit in Australia (Sydney) to discuss plans for future "Phantom" film.
  • 1989 (undated): wins the “Inkpot Award” at the San Diego International Comic Conference.
  • 1989, November: visit in Spain and awarded by "Haxtur Award" at the "VI Salón Internacional del Cómic / Ciudad de Oviedo".


  • 1990 (undated): visit of the Book Fair in Gothenburg, Sweden before to visit the Liseberg Amusement Park.
  • 1990 (May): visit in Spain. Invited at the "8th Barcelona International Comic Fair" (speech on May 19).
  • 1991, April 12: surprise pre-80th birthday party, organized by King Features Syndicate, at The Players Club in New York City in the presence of Lee, Elizabeth Falk, cartoonist Jules Pfeiffer and Senator Alan MacGregor Cranston.
  • 1992 (undated): birth of Gwendolyn, Lee's great granddaughter to Marie Louise.
  • 1994,February 11–13: invited at Convention "The New York Comic Book Spectacular" held in New York City at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
  • 1994, May 21: Lee Falk Day in his hometown St. Louis, with appearance at the Kansas City ComicCon the next day. On this latter occasion, Lee Falk was a guest speaker and was awarded for his contributions to the comic community.
  • 1996 (January): invited in Australia on the set of “The Phantom” movie.
  • 1996, June 4: at the Phantom movie Premiere, Lee received a letter from President Bill Clinton, congratulating him with his achievements.
  • 1996, October 28: present at the European Premiere of the Phantom film in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 1999 (Spring): writes his final Mandrake and Phantom stories from his hospital bed with the help of his wife Elizabeth.
  • 1999, March 13: death of heart failure in New Yok City. Interment in Brooklyn's Cypress Hills Cemetery.

1999 Tribute article


  1. Exochorda was one of four sister ships (Exeter, Excambion, Exochordia and Excalibur) sailing fortnightly from New York and calling at Gibraltar, Marseilles, Naples, Alexandria, Jaffa, Beirut, Haifa, Alexandria, Piraeus, Naples, Leghorn, Genoa, Marseilles, Boston and New York. With the Yankee Cruise one could take a round trip of 44 days, or parts of the voyage. Lee boarded the Exochorda in Alexandria on October the 5th and Louise in Genoa 7 days later.
  2. Working in Washington D.C., not at a local Illinois radio station.
  3. presumably this is Florence Pride Paxton (1920-1990).


  1. "Local", The Jewish Voice (St. Louis, Missouri), 5 May 1911, p 2
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Study and Investigation of the Federal Communications Commission: Hearings Before the Select Committee to Investigate the Federal Communications Commission, House of Representatives, Seventy-eighth Congress, First Session, Acting Under H. Res. 21, ..., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1943, 390
  3. St Louis Post Dispatch (St Louis, Missouri) 23 December 1913
  4. 1920 United States Federal Census, St. Louis City, Missouri
  5. The Modern View (St. Louis, Missouri) 10 August 1917, p 15
  6. "Trio of St. Louis Boys Awarded Free Ranger Bicycles", St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri), 28 June 1921, p 26
  7. "Father and Sons Night - Temple Israel Brootherhood" The Modern View (St. Louis, Missouri) 22 April 1926, p 51
  8. The Modern View (St. Louis, Missouri) 14 May 1926, p 17
  9. The Illio, Yearbook 1932. Univerity of Illinois, p 70, 551, 585
  10. "Instruction", St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri) 9 Oct 1932, p 41
  11. "Jobbless Shoemaker Writes an Opera About Pirates", St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri) 23 April 1933, p 14
  12. "Social News", The Modern View (St. Louis, Missouri) 5 April 1934, p 14
  13. Library of Congress Copyright Office, Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 4 - Works of Art, Etc. New Series, 1934, 66
  14. "Social News", The Modern View (St. Louis, Missouri) 8 Aug 1935, p 12
  15. St Louis Post Dispatch (St Louis) 4 October 1935
  16. Variety #120 page 125, 6 November 1935
  17. "Social News", The Modern View (St. Louis, Missouri) 10 Sep 1936, p 15
  18. "Social News", The Modern View (St. Louis, Missouri) 10 Jun 1937, p 13
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957
  20. Brown, Robert U, "Comic Artists Appearing On Radio Program", Editor and Publisher 11 December 1937, p 28
  21. "Social News", The Modern View (St. Louis, Missouri) 12 May 1938, p 15
  22. Frisby, Hedda, "Just a Moment Please!", The Modern View (St. Louis, Missouri) 16 Mar 1939, p 3
  23. "125,000 Tickets To Fair Sold By N.Y. Daily", Editor and Publisher 16 September 1939, p 20
  24. "Social News", The Modern View (St. Louis, Missouri) 14 Dec 1939, p 17
  25. "Social News", The Modern View (St. Louis, Missouri) 23 Dec 1940, p 17
  26. "Personals and Notes", Editor and Publisher 25 January 1941, p 29
  27. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946
  28. "Falk-Lilienthal Nuptials Read on Tuesday", The Times Recorder (Zanesville, Ohio), 3 August 1946, tree
  29. Adams, Marjory Talented Newcomers in Boston Summer Theatre's Musical Alice" The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) 01 Jul 1951, p 52
  30. Adams, Marjory Falk Calls His Summer Theatres "Most beatiful in the East" The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) 22 Jun 1952, p 97
  31. Adams, Marjory Summer Audience Now Demand Musicals or Drama, Says Falk The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) 27 Jun 1954, p 70
  32. "To Adress Rotary Clubs", Santa Ynez Valley News (Solvang, California), 30 April 1964, p 9
  33. Atkin, Percy, "The man who can out-draw the Phantom", Birmingham Evening Mail (Birmingham, West Midlands, England), 22 November 1971, p 11

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