Her decision defied convention and, if not incredible, was certainly courageous. Testifying before a congressional subcommittee two weeks ago, Cathy Lee Crosby, 31, spoke not only of her worry over drug use by young people but admitted she had dabbled with drugs herself. As an athlete (she once was a high-ranked tennis player), Cathy Lee said she took cortisone to ease muscle pain. As a newcomer to Hollywood, she confessed, “I used social drugs—more than just grass.” Now Cathy Lee asserts she hasn’t taken even aspirin for two and a half years. Hollywood may not find her revelations as controversial as her TV show (preceding story). But she still frets, “It’s too soon to say whether there will be repercussions.”
If her move is bold for drug-sensitive L.A.—she wants to involve more celebrities in her antidrug campaign—it isn’t her first. Were she not a co-host of That’s Incredible!, Cathy’s penchant for risk-taking might qualify her as a guest. An accomplished aerialist, her hobby is performing on the flying trapeze. “ABC went mad because of the insurance,” she admits. Her romantic leaps have sometimes seemed just as perilous. Married at 21 to an older man, Cathy was divorced within two years. During her days on the tennis circuit, she briefly went out with Jimmy Connors and Stan Smith. She once dated Shaft star Richard Roundtree, and her current beau is Claude Ravior, a wealthy Swiss-born manufacturer. “I’ve had quite a few relationships,” she notes proudly, “and we’ve always been friends afterward.”
Born the middle of three girls to an L.A. showbiz family (not Bing’s), Crosby’s father was a scriptwriter-songwriter and her mother, Linda Hayes, an RKO contract actress in the 1940s. After discovering tennis at age 12, Cathy was ranked first in the state for her age. “I was very determined,” she remembers. “I once entered a 128-player tournament, and I worked out exactly how to beat each opponent.” Not surprisingly, she graduated from USC in 1968 with a degree in psychology.
After traveling the world class tennis circuit and playing twice at Wimbledon, she quit tennis at 23. Then came a “delayed adolescence—going to the beach, falling in love.” Finally she began acting. She did the pilot for ABC’s Wonder Woman but turned down the series, as well as Charlie’s Angels. That’s Incredible! seemed to offer the freedom she was looking for.
A onetime student of Scientology, Cathy Lee lives alone in a Westwood apartment with her Shih Tzu, Puppy. Soon she will move to a more fashionable three-bedroom house west of Laurel Canyon. “I’d love kids,” Cathy Lee says, “but I better find a father for them first.”