Lee Elias was born in Manchester, UK, but moved to the USA when he was still very young. In New York he studied music and followed artistic studies at the Cooper Union and at the Art Students League. He made his debut in the comics scene at Fiction House in 1943. Until 1946 he collaborated on series like 'Captain Wings', 'Suicide Smith', 'Firehair', 'Reff Ryan' and 'Space Rangers'. In addition, he went to work for Harvey, cooperating on titles like 'Black Cat', and 'Terry and the Pirates' between 1946 and 1958. He was also an occasional contributor to Hillman and Marvel during this period. From 1947, he worked on comics like 'Black Canary', 'Green Lantern' and 'Hawkman' for National Periodical Publications, which later became DC Comics.
Besides comic books, Elias has also worked on newspaper comics. He assisted George Wunder on the 'Terry and the Pirates' strip and Al Capp on 'Li'l Abner'. From 1952 to 1955 he drew 'Beyond Mars', a science-fiction Sunday page in the New York Daily News, written by SF novelist Jack Williamson. He was back at DC in 1959 with artwork for 'Adam Strange', 'Green Arrow', 'Ultra' and 'Automan'. He eventually joined Warren Publications, where he specialized in horror comics, drawing among others for The Rook from 1979.
Lee Elias dropped his comics activities during the 1980s, and took on illustration work for Argosy and Cosmopolitan, and became successful in painting. He was a teacher in comics at Burne Hogarth's School of Visual Arts and at the Joe Kubert School.