1922 – 2013
Christopher Lee [bottom right]
Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, CBE, CStJ (27 May 1922 – 7 June 2015) was an English actor, singer, military officer, and author. With a career spanning nearly 70 years, Lee was well known for portraying villains and became best known for his role as Count Dracula in a sequence of Hammer Horror films, a typecasting situation he always lamented. His other film roles include Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), Saruman in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy (2001–2003) and The Hobbit film trilogy (2012–2014), and Count Dooku in the second and third films of the Star Wars prequel trilogy (2002 and 2005).
Lee was knighted for services to drama and charity in 2009, received the BAFTA Fellowship in 2011, and received the BFI Fellowship in 2013. Lee 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). He frequently appeared opposite Peter Cushing in many horror films, and late in his career had roles in six Tim Burton films.
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. He was honoured with the “Spirit of Metal” award at the 2010 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards ceremony. Lee died from complications of respiratory problems and heart failure on the morning of 7 June 2015, aged 93.
The Curse of Frankenstein 1957
Victor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) is a brilliant scientist willing to stop at nothing in his quest to reanimate a deceased body. After alienating his longtime friend and partner, Paul Krempe (Robert Urquhart), with his extreme methods, Frankenstein assembles a hideous creature (Christopher Lee) out of dead body parts and succeeds in bringing it to life. But the monster is not as obedient or docile as Frankenstein expected, and it runs amok, resulting in murder and mayhem.
On a search for his missing friend Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen), vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) is led to Count Dracula’s (Christopher Lee) castle. Upon arriving, Van Helsing finds an undead Harker in Dracula’s crypt and discovers that the count’s next target is Harker’s ailing fiancée, Lucy Holmwood (Carol Marsh). With the help of her brother, Arthur (Michael Gough), Van Helsing struggles to protect Lucy and put an end to Count Dracula’s parasitic reign of terror.
The City of the Dead 1960
Young college student Nan Barlow (Venetia Stevenson) arrives in the sleepy Massachusetts town of Whitewood to research witchcraft. Nan’s stay at the eerie Raven’s Inn takes a portentous turn when she learns its proprietor Mrs. Newless (Patricia Jessel) is the reincarnation of a witch burned at the stake in 1692. The discovery unravels the startling truth about the town: that it is really a coven of witches who have a sinister plan to sacrifice humans so that they can become immortal.
The Gorgon 1964
A mysterious monster is turning people to stone in a German village in 1910. When his girlfriend is killed, Bruno (Jeremy Longhurst) becomes the prime suspect. His ensuing suicide seems to confirm his guilt, but professor Carl Maister (Christopher Lee) isn’t so sure. He thinks one of the villagers is possessed by the spirit of Megaera, sister to Medusa. Among the possible culprits are Dr. Namaroff (Peter Cushing), gorgeous nurse Carla (Barbara Shelley) and a mental patient.
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes 1970
A bored Sherlock Holmes (Robert Stephens) meets Madame Petrova (Tamara Toumanova), a famed ballerina, who tries to seduce him, hoping that their child will have her body and his brains. He manages to extract himself from her grasp, using Dr. Watson (Colin Blakely) as a decoy. Then he and the doctor head for Loch Ness in search of the missing husband of Gabrielle Valladon (Genevieve Page). While there, they meet Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft (Christopher Lee), who aids them in solving the mystery.
Horror Express 1972
Alexander Saxton (Christopher Lee), a brilliant British anthropologist researching in the Russian Far East, boards the Trans-Siberian Express with his latest discovery, a frozen specimen he hopes to prove is the missing link. But en route to Europe, passengers begin to turn up dead, and terror engulfs the train as Saxton and his partner, Dr. Wells (Peter Cushing), struggle to contain a mysterious — and increasingly murderous — force with the power to control minds.
The Man with the Golden Gun 1974
Cool government operative James Bond (Roger Moore) searches for a stolen invention that can turn the sun’s heat into a destructive weapon. He soon crosses paths with the menacing Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee), a hit man so skilled he has a seven-figure working fee. Bond then joins forces with the swimsuit-clad Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland), and together they track Scaramanga to a tropical isle hideout where the killer-for-hire lures the slick spy into a deadly maze for a final duel.
Mohammed Ali Jinnah (Christopher Lee), the founder of Pakistan, tells his guide in the afterlife about his experiences.
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones 2002
Set ten years after the events of “The Phantom Menace,” the Republic continues to be mired in strife and chaos. A separatist movement encompassing hundreds of planets and powerful corporate alliances poses new threats to the galaxy that even the Jedi cannot stem. These moves, long planned by an as yet unrevealed and powerful force, lead to the beginning of the Clone Wars — and the beginning of the end of the Republic.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King 2003
Sauron’s forces have laid siege to Minas Tirith, the capital of Gondor, in their efforts to eliminate the race of men. The once-great kingdom, watched over by a fading steward, has never been in more desperate need of its king. But can Aragorn answer the call of his heritage and become what he was born to be? In no small measure, the fate of Middle-earth rests on his broad shoulders. With the final battle joined and the legions of darkness gathering, Gandalf urgently tries to rally Gondor’s broken army to action. He is aided by Rohan’s King Theoden, who unites his warriors for history’s biggest test. Yet even with their courage and passionate loyalty, the forces of men–with Eowyn and Merry hidden among them–are no match for the enemies swarming against Gondor. Still, in the face of great losses, they charge forward into the battle of their lifetimes, tied together by their singular goal to keep Sauron distracted and give the Ring Bearer a chance to complete his quest. Their hopes rest with Frodo, a tiny but determined hobbit making a perilous trip across treacherous enemy lands to cast the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom. The closer Frodo gets to his final destination, the heavier his burden becomes and the more he must rely on Samwise Gamgee. Gollum–and the Ring itself–will test Frodo’s allegiances and, ultimately, his humanity.
1922 – 2013