In extremely sad news, it's been reported that Joan Lee, the wife of Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, died Thursday in Los Angeles. She was 95 years old; the pair had been happily married for 69 years.
THR reported that she had suffered a stroke earlier in the week and had been subsequently hospitalized. In addition to a spokesperson for Stan Lee issuing an official statement, Marvel Cinematic Universe star Chadwick Boseman passed along his condolences to Lee and his family:
"I can confirm the sad news that Joan Lee passed away this morning quietly and surrounded by her family ... The family ask that you please give them time to grieve and respect their privacy during this difficult time."
Joan Lee was a former British hat model who married the comic book writer on Dec. 5, 1947. The couple were known to all associates as being extremely devoted to each other. During their long relationship, Stan and Joan had two children: J.C. (Joan Celia), who was born in 1950, and Jan, who sadly died just three days after her birth in 1953.
Sending my sincerest condolences to @TheRealStanLee on the passing of Joan. All of your Avengers are holding you&your family in our prayers.
— Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) July 6, 2017
With regard to the couple's long-lasting relationship, Lee had previously spoken to THR regarding his fortuitous meeting with Joan which came about completely by accident:
"When I was young, there was one girl I drew; one body and face and hair. It was my idea of what a girl should be. The perfect woman. And when I got out of the Army, somebody, a cousin of mine, knew a model, a hat model at a place called Laden Hats. He said, 'Stan, there's this really pretty girl named Betty. I think you'd like her. She might like you. Why don't you go over and ask her to lunch.' Blah, blah, blah ... So I went up to this place. Betty didn't answer the door. But Joan answered, and she was the head model. I took one look at her - and she was the girl I had been drawing all my life. And then I heard the English accent. And I'm a nut for English accents! She said, 'May I help you?' And I took a look at her, and I think I said something crazy like, 'I love you.' I don't remember exactly. But anyway, I took her to lunch. I never met Betty, the other girl. I think I proposed to [Joan] at lunch."
It was an incredibly romantic start to a long life together and their special companionship even led to the inception of iconic comic-book characters. When Lee was on the verge of quitting his writing, Joan encouraged him to write one last comic which reportedly turned out to be The Fantastic Four.
While Joan never achieved the same number of film appearances as her husband, she did do voice work on several 1990s animated Marvel shows, and recently made a cameo in X-Men: Apocalypse. Joan was also an author, who published the novel The Pleasure Palace in 1987, and apparently had more unpublished but finished novels at home.
We pass our condolences to Stan Lee and his family, and thank Joan Lee for her contributions to that amazing alternative world that she helped build.