St. Louis, Missouri, United States
J. Lee was an American writer, director, and actor born in St. Louis, Missouri. Lee began taking piano lessons at age 3, performed at Carnegie Hall at age 12, and graduated from Indiana University's Jacob's School of Music with a bachelor's in both Piano Performance and Theater and Drama in 2005. In spite of his piano accomplishments, however, Lee headed out to Los Angeles with only $200 upon graduating, where he slept in his car until saving enough money to rent an apartment. He landed his first show business gig as the receptionist for "Family Guy" (Fox, 1999- ), which morphed into a role as a general production assistant from 2005 to 2008. He appeared as an uncredited band member in "Idlewild" (2006), which starred hip hop duo Outkast, in his film debut. Lee made his directorial debut with the independent documentary "Battle for the Crown" (2007), chronicling a competition for stepping, a form of dancing. He made his television acting debut providing voices for "American Dad!" (Fox/TBS, 2005- ) from 2007 to 2009, furthering his collaboration with "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane. Lee also provided voices for "Family Guy" from 2008 to 2010, and for another MacFarlane show, "The Cleveland Show" (Fox, 2009-2013), in 2010. He began writing for "The Cleveland Show" in 2012 until the show was cancelled in 2013. Lee wrote and directed his own short film, starring Nelsan Ellis, called "Naked Eye" (2012), and played John LaMarr as part of the main cast of "The Orville" (Fox, 2017). "The Orville" marked Lee's fourth collaboration with MacFarlane, who also created the show and starred on the live-action sci-fi sitcom.