Christopher Lee, the British actor known for his many film roles including Count Dracula in the Hammer Film series and Saruman the White in The Lord of the Rings, has died at the age of 93. Lee reportedly died at at London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital at 08:30AM local time on Sunday after being admitted three weeks before with respiratory problems.
Lee came to prominence playing Count Dracula in number of films in the 50s/60s for Hammer Films. Lee stood around six foot five inches tall, his looming and menacing figure would allow him to take on such villainous roles in some of some of the biggest franchises. He has starred in over 250 movies!
He’s known for playing Bond villain Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun, Sith lord Count Dooku in two Star Wars prequels, and the evil wizard Saruman in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. However Lee considered his best film to be the 1973 classic The Wicker Man, where he played the aristocratic leader of a pagan cult, Lord Summerisle.
Though he may be remembered for his films, lee lived a full life away from the camera. He was in the Royal Air Force in 1940 before working as an intelligence officer. After World War II ended he also spent months helping hunt down Nazi war criminals, but refused to comment on his wartime activity.
He was also a musician who recorded a number of records, including two symphonic heavy metal albums telling the life story of the First Holy Roman Emperor, King Charlemagne as well as a metal Christmas album. He received the Spirit of Metal award in 2010.
Lee continued to act right up to being hospitalized. He was reportedly set to appear in a drama set before 9/11 alongside Uma Thurman. In his Bafta fellowship acceptance speech Lee says: “I hate being idle. As dear Boris [Karloff] used to say, when I die I want to die with my boots on.”
RIP Christopher, you were and will always be a true legend. Thank you for making such wonderful movies, your legacy will live on forever.