I was born in Shanghai, China and raised in Tokyo, Japan. My dad was a well-known foreign correspondent, author and TV commentator who was assigned to Japan during the occupation after World War II. My mom was a Chinese opera actor. So, I guess television and journalism is in my DNA.
I came to the states for college as a foreign student after graduating from the American school in Japan. I attended San Jose State during the turbulent 60's. In 1964, during the height of the Vietnam War and civil rights protests, I was elected student body president. I learned a lot about politics and activism through that experience.
I started my career in journalism with an internship at the New York Times, and then joined United Press International (UPI) in 1969, where I served in Portland, Tokyo and Los Angeles.
I had some exciting assignments as a cub reporter. One was covering some of the Charlie Manson trial. I also covered President Richard Nixon numerous times when he came to the western White House in San Clemente. But the one that went ballistic was my story about Frazier, an old lion at the Lion Country Safari Zoo. Frazier suddenly and unexpectedly sired a whole lot of cubs at what I think was the equivalent human age of 90!!!
I came back to the Bay Area in 1972 when I joined KRON-TV. I traveled extensively to Asia on many incredible assignments...The Philippine Revolution, Hong Kong's handover, the Kobe earthquake, the Olympics in Korea and of course, many trips to Japan where I reported on business, education and social issues for KRON and the NBC News Channel. My most memorable and grueling trip was a month-long assignment to Sudan and Ethiopia, touring refugee camps and documenting the African Famine and Civil War.
I joined ABC7 News in January 2006 where I continue as a general assignment reporter, working with an incredible staff. Ironically, the most memorable story I've done here and the one that's received more than a million hits on YouTube is on "Dusty the Klepto Cat" who has stolen hundreds of things from neighbors in San Mateo. Just can't get away from felines....
I am happily married. My wife and I are blessed with a wonderful daughter who is a lawyer and an author. And after almost four decades, I feel my mission as a journalist is still the same&to make a difference through my stories and right wrongs.
Vic Lee is a general assignment reporter. His specialty is enterprise reporting. You can see Vic's reports weeknights on ABC7 News at 5 and 6 p.m.. Lee's reporting has received both local and national recognition. His investigative series on the hidden health hazards in Silicon Valley's semiconductor industry earned him the George Polk Award of Journalism for best local TV reporting. His story on the exploitation of Japanese tourists in San Francisco prompted state and federal criminal investigations. Lee has also won numerous Emmys and awards from the Associated Press, RTNDA, Society of Professional Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association. At the New York Film Festival, his series on African famine and civil war in the 1980's won a Gold Award for best documentary.