Christopher Lee

Christopher Lee

Christopher Lee at the Berlin International Film Festival 2013.jpg
Lee at the Berlin Film Festival in 2013
Christopher Frank Carandini Lee

(1922-05-27)27 May 1922
Died7 June 2015(2015-06-07) (aged 93)
  • Actor
  • singer
  • author
Years active1946–2015
Height6 ft 5 in (196 cm)
Musical career
Military career
  •  Finland (1939)
  •  United Kingdom (1940–1946)
Years of service1939–1946
RankFlight lieutenant

Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, CBE, CStJ (27 May 1922 – 7 June 2015) was an English actor, singer and author.[1] With a career spanning nearly seven decades, Lee attracted notice first for portraying villains before appearing as Count Dracula in a sequence of Hammer Horror films. His other film roles include Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequel trilogy (2002–2005), and Saruman in both the Lord of the Rings film trilogy (2001–2003) and the Hobbit film trilogy (2012–2014).

Lee was knighted for services to drama and charity in 2009, received the BAFTA Fellowship in 2011, and received the BFI Fellowship in 2013.[2] Lee credited three films "for bringing me to the fore" as an actor, A Tale of Two Cities (1958), in which he played the villainous marquis, and two horror films, The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and Dracula (1958).[3] He considered his best performance to be that of Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the biopic Jinnah (1998), and his best film to be the British cult film The Wicker Man (1973).[4] He frequently appeared opposite his friend Peter Cushing in many horror films, and late in his career had roles in five Tim Burton films.[5]

Prior to his acting career, Lee served in the Royal Air Force, where he was attached to the No. 260 Squadron RAF as an intelligence officer where he was a liaison officer for the Special Operations Executive, although he was unlikely to have been behind enemy lines.[6] Following his World War II service he retired from the RAF in 1946 with the rank of flight lieutenant.

Always noted as an actor for his deep, strong voice, Lee was also known for his singing ability, recording various opera and musical pieces between 1986 and 1998, and the symphonic metal album Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross in 2010, after having worked with several metal bands since 2005. The heavy metal follow-up Charlemagne: The Omens of Death was released on 27 May 2013, Lee's 91st birthday.[7][8] He was honoured with the "Spirit of Hammer" award at the 2010 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards ceremony.[9]

  1. ^ "Christopher Lee's memorable movie roles: 'I dreamed of being a character actor'". pennlive. 11 June 2015.
  2. ^ *"Hammer Horror star Lee knighted". BBC. Retrieved 7 May 2012
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference LA Times was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ "The Total Film Interview – Christopher Lee". Total Film. 1 May 2005. Archived from the original on 12 June 2007. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Christopher Lee filmography". AllMovie. AllRovi. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Who dares lies". The Spectator. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  7. ^ "Sir Christopher Lee releases second heavy metal album". BBC News.
  8. ^ Farrell, John (28 May 2012). "Christopher Lee Celebrates 90th Birthday By Recording Heavy Metal". Forbes. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  9. ^ "Metal Hammer Golden Gods Winners". Retrieved 12 January 2021.