Lester Townsend was a speaker for the United Nations. Although he owned a mansion in New York, he lived in Washington, DC since the death of his wife. The vacant mansion was used as a base of operations by Phillip Vandamm, who even assumed Townsend's identity for the benefit of Roger Thornhill. After narrowly escaping being killed by Vandamm's henchmen, Thornhill, still thinking Vandamm was Townsend, went to the UN to confront his would-be killer, and was surprised to meet the real Lester Townsend. Townsend himself was just as surprised that someone was living in his mansion and impersonating him, but before he could shed any light on the subject, he was killed by Valerian, who thew a knife into his back.