The British champion of macabre who played Dracula in the outrageous horror classics, Christopher Lee died on Sunday at the age of 93 in a London hospital. He had later become renowned for his role in the ‘Star Wars’ franchise and also for his performance as the wizard Saruman in the ‘Lord of the Rings’. According to Lee’s death certificate, he had been undergoing treatment for some respiratory problems.
The London native rose to fame from the late 1950s and remained at the top of his game into the 1970s during which he played characters such as Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula and the Mummy for Hammer Films. Even in the latter part of his career, Lee made some memorable appearances in blockbuster and immensely popular movies.
With his ramrod frame of 6-foot-4-inch or 1.93 meters and his mellifluous and deep voice, Christopher Lee was the last horror movie star of the English-Language in a line that can be tracked back to Lon Chaney, the silent era luminary and also include several others such as Vince Price, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Peter Cushing, regular co-star of Lee in Hammer Films.
He brought a sense of pitifulness to his monsters and even though he was the master of the horror game; he had a great disliking for that word. In 2002, he told the New York Times that he preferred the word ‘fantasy’ because the word horror implied despicable things. Lee’s talents were sought by numerous leading directors, especially in the latter part of his career when he had joined the elderly. Lee was hailed by politicians and celebrities alike.
David Cameron, the British Prime Minister praised the actor by calling him the titan of cinema’s golden age whereas Boris Johnson, the London Mayor stated that he was one of the greatest British actors. Tim Burton, the director who worked with Lee on his last five movies said that the actor was a true legend and one of a kind. Lee worked in some one the biggest moneymakers in history that garnered him a whole new generation of fans.
This included his roles in Star Wars and also played a role in the Bond film. In a rare departure from his iconic horror roles, Lee also played Sherlock Holmes in a few movies. His roles in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and also the Hobbit series also earned him some fame. He also worked with Johnny Depp in Dark Shadows. He has a lead role in Angels in Notting Hill, which is unreleased and would have also starred in The 11th that hasn’t gone into production as yet.
His lifelong interest in music cannot be ignored either. He released a single in 2013 titled Jingle Hell, which reached number 22 in the Billboard Hot 100. This made him the oldest living artist to have made an entry in the chart. He made his debut in 1947, launching a career that saw him work in around 200 movies for which he will be remembered forever in cinema history.