Robert E. Lee, Former FCC Member

WASHINGTON - Robert E. Lee, a longtime member of the Federal Communications Commission who supported the development of color television, is dead of liver cancer at age 81.

He died Monday at Arlington Hospital near Washington, D.C.

Lee served on the FCC for nearly 29 years before retiring in 1981. He was chairman for the last few months of his tenure.

In addition to playing an active role in the development of color television, Lee was a leading proponent of UHF television, FM radio, educational television, and policing profanity and obscenity on the airwaves.

Before he was appointed to the FCC by President Eisenhower in 1953, he had been an FBI agent and a top aide to J. Edgar Hoover, the late FBI director.

While an FBI official, Lee was placed on loan to the staff of the Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives as director of surveys and investigations.

In that role, he conducted loyalty investigations of government employees during a period when there was intense concern about alleged communist influence. He was friends with the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wis., who eventually was censured by the Senate for his conduct during investigations of communist influence in