Monday, June 17, 2024

Exclusive: Accused Stan Lee Friend, Manager Keya Morgan Has Plenty of Evidence of Innocence Including Notarized Letter from Marvel Creator


An arrest warrant was issued on Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court for Keya Morgan, the friend and manager of late Marvel founder Stan Lee. Morgan is accused of senior abuse, which sounds pretty bad. But it’s not a cut and dried case. So far, it’s just a good headline.

I know that there was no love lost between Morgan and Stan’s daughter, J.C. Lee. In February 2018 I ran into Morgan, a peripatetic presence at Hollywood and celebrity parties, who told me all about his friendship with Stan and the infighting in Lee’s home since his wife had died. This was not long after a nurse had accused Stan of harassing her. It was obvious then that many people were fighting for Stan’s attention if not his estate.

Morgan, who collects and sells expensive memorabilia (Abraham Lincoln, Marilyn Monroe, but not Marvel) didn’t have much use for J.C. Lee or another Lee hanger-on named Jerry Olivera.

When Morgan was suddenly being accused of elder abuse in places like TMZ, he sent me a letter that Lee had written, and was notarized, from last June. Morgan may have helped Lee write it, but Stan signed it and it was properly recorded. In it, Stan says “Keya Morgan has been my most loyal and supportive friend in the last several years.”

The letter excoriates Tom Lallas, the lawyer whom J.C. Lee called in to oust Morgan. It’s signed on April 20, 2018, one week after a piece on Lee appeared in the NY Times called “Is Stan Lee Being Held Prisoner by Real Life Villains?” The conclusion was that he was not. (The Times should make one glaring correction, though: Pablo Picasso never visited the United States.) There was no sign of abuse of Lee by Morgan.

Morgan, meanwhile, has spent the last few months on the East Coast. He’s been making a documentary, he told me, about Marilyn Monroe’s last days. On Twitter, Morgan has not commented about the arrest warrant, which was issued last Friday. Indeed, most of his Tweets have been about Michael Jackson and Morgan’s dislike of the “Leaving Neverland” film.

So hold on, there’s more to this story than the headlines.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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