Lisa Lee, a former CMT cable network TV reporter who spent the past 15 years as an executive at the Academy of Country Music, died of brain cancer on Saturday. She was 52 years old.
Senior Vice President of Creation and Content, Lee produced ACM Honors, a live industry event held annually at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville that celebrates Special Award winners and ACM Awards category winners off camera. .
Lee joined ACM in 2007 to help establish its own in-house video creation and production department. As Senior Producer, she oversaw video production and digital and print materials including Tempo ACM magazine, the ACM Awards program book, and the ACM and ACM Lifting Lives websites.
In 2014, she wrote and created This Is Country: A Backstage Pass for the Academy of Country Music Awards, a tabletop book that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the awards and included a striker from Reba McEntire.
“We lost one of our real lights yesterday,” Keith Urban said in a statement. “Lisa Lee was one of the most passionate and caring people I have ever met. Her love and appreciation for music and the artists who created it was all you wanted. I loved being interviewed by her for this reason and because she always brought such warmth to the room.
Alicia Faye Young was born on December 24, 1968 in Cabot, Arkansas. She received a BA in Journalism and English from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and an MA in Audiovisual Journalism from Northwestern University.
After working for the Cabot Star-Herald in Arkansas and KTAL-TV, a subsidiary of NBC, she was a Nashville-based reporter and producer for Jim Owens and Associates from 1995 to 1999, then joined CMT and CMT.com as a press correspondent and producer in 2000 She has written and produced television specials, including Addicted to addiction, Sex in videos: where is the limit and Controversy: Tammy Wynette.
In 2004, Lee came to Los Angeles as a Hollywood-based correspondent and West Coast bureau chief for the interview focused on CMT Insider program and cover music, films and television.
“Lisa Lee and I grew up together in this business,” said Kenny Chesney. “She was a television journalist, producer, screenwriter and great leader. She covered my heroes and my friends, she wrote about me and my mom. She really cared about country music – and I absolutely cared about her. Goodbye, my sweet friend.
“The Academy lost much of its heart and soul with the passing of Lisa Lee,” added ACM CEO Damon Whiteside. “She was a champion of country music and fiercely dedicated to the mission of the Academy for her 15 years of service to the ACM. She is irreplaceable, but her heart and spirit will live on throughout our industry. ACM Honors was her favorite event, and I know she will be singing with us and smiling at us from above on Wednesday night.
Survivors include her parents, Charlie and Faye; her husband and high school sweetheart, Doug; and his children Grayson and Jackson. Details on services and a fund to help his family can be found here.