US industrial designer who studied in 1953 at the University of Georgia and played on the freshman football team under Wallace Butts. He originally wanted to be an artist, but a lecture by Charles Eames convinced him industrial design was it, and so he went to the University of Cincinnati and received his degree there in 1958.
In the early 1960s, he worked for Walter Dorwin Teague's office in New York, where he worked on the AMF monorail exhibit at the 1964 World's Fair, projects for Federal Express, Tupperware, General Electric, and Tudor Games, for which he developed high-tech electric football and hockey games introduced in 1962.
From 1964 to 1968 he was employed by Tudor as director of product development, and worked with the NFL to refine the electric football game players with realistic poses, trademarks, helmets, team colors and the actual numbers of real players.
In 1968 he established his own design firm, Lee Payne Associates (LPA), in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, and consulted with many clients. From 1976 to 1988, he chaired the industrial design department at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. While serving as chair he earned a master's degree in art history from Emory University. In 1981, he designed the original Smartmodem and chronograph for Hayes Microcomputer Products, Inc. that was featured in a book published by ID magazine, "Product Design-Award Winning Designs for the Home and Office." In 1983, he won an award in a Formica Corporation contest to show off its new ColorCore material with his Neopolitan ice cream coffee table, now in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. Other clients included Chiffon, Bosch Power Tools, IBM, Dow Chemical, Georgia Pacific, KitchenArt, Olan Mills and many others.
He also served on the design team for both the Atlanta (1996) and Salt Lake City (2002) Olympic games.
He moved to Jasper, GA in 1996 but continued to teach at Georgia Institute of Technology until his death in 2003.