Lee Meredith was born on October 22, 1947 in River Edge, New Jersey, USA as Judith Lee Sauls. First credit: Ulla, the blonde bombshell in “The Producers” (1967), second credit: Dr. Wells in “Hello Down There” (1968), final movie credit: Cracker Girl in “The Cracker Brothers” (TV Movie 1985).
Ulla, Meet Ulla: When Bombshells Collide
By JOHN MARCHESE. The New York Times May 13, 2001
CADY HUFFMAN opened the wine list and ordered a bottle of Dom Pérignon. ”That’s what Ulla would order,” said Ms. Huffman, who just a few hours before had been Ulla, the Swedish secretary in ”The Producers” at the St. James Theater. ”That’s right,” said Lee Meredith, who created the role of Ulla in the original 1968 movie version of ”The Producers.”
In 1967, Lee Meredith was 19, teaching Sunday school and about to graduate from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York when she auditioned for a small part in a film being cast by a young television comedy writer named Mel Brooks who was about to direct his first movie.
”I had no clothes to wear to an audition,” Ms. Meredith remembered. ”My grandmother had just died and I went into her closet and got out a yellow suit, very proper. And I wore gloves and a little hat and patent leather shoes.”
The role of the film Ulla was small but very sweeping in its stereotype: she was the blond Swedish party girl at a time when Americans were titillated and scandalized by an imported Swedish film called ”I Am Curious (Yellow).”
Ms. Meredith had borrowed a library book on Swedish accents the night before the audition, but her real test for the part came when Mr. Brooks played a recording of the song ”Sock It to Me” and asked her to dance.
”Well, I really loved to dance,” Ms. Meredith said. ”I just went crazy. And then Mel said, ‘Take off that jacket. Pull that in a little bit, pull that up a little bit.’ ” She laughed a sweet, high-pitched laugh. ”He had a good imagination.” And he chose Ms. Meredith for the part that Zero Mostel, playing the oily, lecherous Max Bialystock, called ”the Toy.”
… Ms. Meredith speaks a bit wistfully of the days when she was compared to Marilyn Monroe, but also seems content that they are over. ”I always thought Ulla was a caricature,” Ms. Meredith said. She straightened up, leaned forward a bit and recited one of her memorable lines, which she originally delivered while dressed in a bikini: ”Vee make love?”
… After making her debut as Ulla in the 1968 film, Ms. Meredith acted in several Broadway shows and a few movies. She made appearances on ”The Tonight Show,” where, she remembered, she worked awfully hard to seem dumb and make Johnny Carson seem smart. ”But as you get older, the parts get fewer and fewer,” she said. These days she works as a teacher’s aide in a vocational school in Bergen County and runs a pet-sitting service called Mama Chick.