'Grand Dame Of The West' Katie Lee Dies At 98

November 01, 2017
Courtesy of Katie Lee
Katie Lee loved hiking Glen Canyon and was devastated when the dam flooded it.

Katie Lee was many things -- a folksinger, actress, author and photographer but she’s probably best known as the Goddess of Glen Canyon. Her fondest memories were those in Glen Canyon before the dam. 

“I don’t dream about the canyon,” Lee said in a 2014 interview. “I cannot. I give a little prayer at night. ‘Please let me dream about my canyon.’ Nope. Because I’m thinking about it constantly. I mean there isn’t a day or even an hour that goes by that something doesn’t crash into my head and remind me of a particular spot in the canyon. It’s present constantly.”

Lee grew up in Tucson and moved to Hollywood to become an actress. But in the 1950s, when she took a rafting trip down the Colorado River, she abandoned her acting career for a life of exploring, singing about and fighting fiercely for Glen Canyon and the Colorado River. 

“People say to me, ‘we feel cheated we didn’t get to see what you did,’” Lee said. “And I say, 'well then you’d better get off your ass and start protesting about places that you care about. Because the minute you find a place you really love, sure as s*** something’s going to happen to it if you don’t make effort to protect it.'” 


Lee died Wednesday at her home in Jerome. She was 98.