(March 27, 1944 – February 23, 2023) was an American businessperson, banker, and investor who is acknowledged with being one of the early pioneers in the field of private equity, more notably leveraged buyouts. He passed away on February 23, 2023. His company, Thomas H. Lee Partners (THL), which he established in 1974, is now one of the world’s oldest and most successful private equity businesses. After leaving Thomas H. Lee Partners in 2006, he went on to form the private equity firm Lee Equity Partners, where he worked until the time of his passing. He was the managing partner of this business. At the time of his passing, he was estimated to have had a net worth of $2 billion, as reported by Forbes.

Lee was the son of Herbert C. Lee (previously Leibowitz), a Jewish businessman, and Mildred “Micki” Schiff Lee. He was born in 1944 into a Jewish household. His grandfather worked for the Shoe Corporation of America, which was established by his father-in-law, Robert Schiff. Later, his grandfather served as chairperson of the Shoe Corporation of Canada and Clark International Corporation. Richard S. Lee and Jonathan O. Lee were his brothers and they both predeceased him. After graduating from Harvard College in 1965, Lee began his career as an analyst in the institutional research department of L.F. Rothschild in New York City shortly thereafter. Lee received his education at Belmont Hill School and Harvard College. The next year, Lee found employment at the First National Bank of Boston, where he remained for a total of eight years, eventually achieving the position of vice president in the year 1973.

It is reported that Lee got his start in the investment world with a $150,000 inheritance.

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Lee has gone through two marriages. After making it public that he had an affair with a lady who was subsequently prosecuted for extortion, he filed for divorce from his first wife, Barbara Fish Lee, in 1995. This led to their divorce. Ann Tenenbaum, originally from Savannah, Georgia, was Lee’s second wife. Lee is a father of five kids. Lee was a friend of both Bill and Hillary Clinton, in addition to being a passionate art collector. It was claimed that Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill Clinton spent a few days at Bill’s beachfront property in East Hampton, New York, in June 2008, after Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency was failed. At this time, she was able to escape the public glare and spend time with Bill.

Forbes magazine estimated that he had a net worth of $2 billion at the time of his passing.

At the age of 78, Lee was discovered dead in his office in Manhattan on February 23, 2023, from a gunshot wound to the head that he had inflicted on himself.