Jonathan Boynton-Lee

Jonathan Boynton-Lee is a South African television personality, actor and director who is best known for winning the 2012 My Top Billing Dream, a Top Billing presenter search. He has since gone on to forge a successful career on that show as well as the South African television and entertainment industry.

Jonathan Boynton-Lee
Born    Jonathan
September 07, 1980
South Africa
Education Rhodes University
Occupation TV Personality
Actor, Director
Writer, Model
Notable Work Top Billing
Since 2012 – to date
Agent Unknown
Website Unknown

Jonathan Boynton-Lee was adopted as a child and was raised by his adopted family; his adopted mother, Bronwyn, has previously appeared with him in public – most memorably – on the night he won the 2012 My Top Billing Dream.

He found his birth mother a few years before he won the Top Billing presenter search (2012 My Top Billing Dream) who was living “20 minutes down the road” from his (Jonathan Boynton-Lee) house.

Jonathan Boynton-Lee revealed that it took about “a year and a half” for him to find his biological mother and he does not know his biological father.

He went to Rhodes University in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa where he studied Drama and Television Journalism.

Jonathan Boynton-Lee worked as a director, actor and writer after finishing his studies as Rhodes University and before taking part in the 2012 My Top Billing Dream.

In 2010 he co-directed (with Justice Umeh) a South African feature filmed titled Jozi Kings which starred  Anele Beke, Itumeleng Lobelo, Sandisiwe Ngcongo and Prince E. Osuchokwu  with Sibusiso Tshangase.

In 2012 Jonathan Boynton-Lee entered the Top Billing presenter search which was flighted on SABC 3 s the Top Billing spin-off, My Top Billing Dream. The Top Billing presenter search had been previously won by the now late Simba Mhere and he had become an integral part of that show and the 2012 edition saw seasoned television personality, Zama Ngcobo, take part as one of the contestants. Other notable contestants include model Khanya Ngumbela who famously struggled to complete an insert shoot, Lauren Blackwell who famously wept while interviewing Justin Bieber in Australia, Dr. Chamendran Naidoo who later joined Dr. Michael Mol on The Dr. Mol Show and Lynelle Kenned who joined Top Billing’s sister show Pasella.



Top Billing and Other Work, 2012 – to date

In August 2012 Jonathan Boynton-Lee overcame Zama Ngcobo, Dr. Chamendran Naidoo and Lynelle Kenned to be crowned winner of the 2012 My Top Billing Dream presenter search reality show. This meant he would become the newest Top Billing presenter at the time. “This year was particularly hard to choose a winner as we had such talented finalists, but ultimately Jonathan won us over,” Top Billing executive producer Patience Stevens was quoted saying.

“Right from the start when he first auditioned in Johannesburg, we recognised something special in him – especially the way he spoke to us from the heart – but like the others nine finalists, he was put through his paces until we were absolutely sure he was exactly what we wanted for Top Billing,” Patience Stevens, who was also one of the judges, said at the time.

Hayley Bennett and Jonathan Boynton-Lee“I can’t even remember what I did when my name was called out. My mom came up and hugged me, but other than that, I can’t remember a thing. I’ve never been so overwhelmed with emotion. My body didn’t know how to react. It still hasn’t sunk in. How does an actor feel after winning an Oscar? How does an Olympic athlete feel after winning the gold? It’s indescribable – it doesn’t feel real,” Jonathan Boynton-Lee was quoted saying.

In 2014 Jonathan Boynton-Lee entered the seventh season of Strictly Come Dancing SA as a celebrity dancer with professional dancer, Hayley Bennett, as his dance partner. In the final three the couple faced the pair of LeAnne Dlamini & Johannes Radebe and that of Leandie Du Randt & Brandon Eilers Le Riche. Jonathan Boynton-Lee and his partner, Hayley Bennett, went on to win the competition.




Year Title Role Notes
2010 Jozi Kings N/A Co-director with Justice Umeh, Feature Film
2012 My Top Billing Dream Himself Contestant, Presenter Search
2012 – to date Top Billing Himself Presenter, Magazine Show
2014 Strictly Come Dancing Himself Contestant, Dance Competition




Personal Life

jonathan boynton-lee and jay ansteyJonathan Boynton-Lee is in a relationship with South African actress Jay Anstey of Isidingo fame. She (Jay Anstey) portrayed the character of Charlie Holmes on SABC 3’s Isidingo before being replaced with Michaella Russell. In July 2015 the couple appeared on an episode of Top Billing while on vacation at iSimangaliso Wetland Park in the north of the KwaZulu-Natal province where they confirmed their romance.



Jonathan Boynton-Lee and Simba MhereJonathan Boynton-Lee was close friends with the late fellow Top Billing presenter Simba Mhere. Their friendship was chronicled in the episode of  Top Billing which aired on Thursday of January 29, 2015 two days before Simba Mhere‘s passing and shortly after further details of their friendship were revealed on the same show. Simba Mhere was the winner of the preceding season of the same competition back in year 2010.

He attended the funeral of Simba Mhere where he was one of the speakers, “I honestly do not think I can speak again, I have lost my brother but I have gained a brotherhood with my Top Billing family and all of them are behind me. Simba’s family you are some kind of superheroes, I don’t know how you are being so strong,” Jonathan Boynton-Lee said, speaking at Simba Mhere‘s funeral.