DECEMBER 3, 1966


Born on July 31, 1932, Shanghai, China, to Hawaiian entertainers, Kui returned to Hawaii at age 5 after his mother died.  Lee performed on the mainland for 10 years as a choreographer and knife dancer where he met his wife, Nani, a hula dancer.  Moving to Nawiliwili, Kaua’i, in 1961, he became a part-time performer and doorman in Kaneohe.  Lee often gave his songs to performer Don Ho who made them hits.  He loved Hawaii with a tremendous passion.  In 1964, Lee wrote his definitive hit, I’ll Remember You, which was recorded that year by both Tony Bennett and Andy Williams, and later by Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass, Roger Williams, and numerous others around the world.  That year, Lee also contracted cancer. While battling the disease, he recorded two albums for Columbia Records in New York. The first premiered May 22, 1966, on Dave Donnelly’s K-POI morning show; the second on Dec. 2, 1966, the day before Lee’s death.  He died seeking treatment in Tijuana, Mexico.  

Source:  Catherine Kekoa Enamoto, “Kui Lee:  One of the All-time Geniuses of Hawai’i,” Star Bulletin, 1997.  Retrieved 8/8/2019,
Clip Art:  Public Domain:

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