Some truly saddening news as The Telegraph UK are reporting that screen legend Sir Christopher Lee has passed away at the age of 93 in London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, after suffering from respiratory problems and heart failure for the past three weeks. Lee actually succumbed to his symptoms at 08:30 on Sunday morning already, but his wife Lady Birgit Lee only made the news public today, preferring to first inform all family and friends.
Lee rose to fame in the 1950’s playing Frankenstiein’s monster and more famously Count Dracula in several Hammer Films productions. This would also be where he would meet life long friend and frequent co-star Peter Cushing, with the pair acting in over twenty films together over the years. Even though his relationship with Hammer was very testy (he claimed that they would frequently blackmail him into starring in the numerous Dracula sequels), he would spend the bulk of his early career here.
The prolific Lee was almost always working, but his next iconic roles would be as Lord Summerisle in 1973’s The Wicker Man (which he proclaimed to be his best role) as well as the titular James Bond villain Francisco Scaramanga in The Man With the Golden Gun (coincidentally, Lee is the step-cousin of Bond creator Ian Fleming). It was in this latter film that I would eventually “meet” Lee and begin my personal fanboyism of the legendary actor, who would get knighted by Prince Charles for his efforts on-screen and in theatre in 1993.
Modern audiences would also get to know him in two of the biggest franchises of all time as Lee would star as the Sith Seperatist leader Count Dooku in the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy as well as playing the wizard Saruman in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies. These modern blockbuster franchises, combined with his long running tenure with Hammer and abundance of roles has made Lee one of the most highest grossing actors of all time, with his films grossing a whopping $8,321,486,066 worldwide.
And between all of this Lee still found time to – pardon my French – be metal as [email protected]$k! The actor’s bass voice saw him singing on the soundtrack of many of the early films he starred in, but he also became an avid heavy metal practitioner and fan after collaborating with Italian symphonic power metal band Rhapsody of Fire in 2005.
In 2010 he would release his own first metal album, titled Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross, which was universally praised and awarded the “Spirit of Metal” awarded. He would not only release further metal albums, but would also release two metal Christmas albums titled A Heavy Metal Christmas and A Heavy Metal Christmas Too, with the first making him the oldest living performer to ever enter the Billboard 100 Charts. He would release another metal EP to celebrate his 92nd birthday, because clearly that’s what 92-year olds do, right?
The fact is that Lee was always an entertainer who blazed his own trail and has left his millions of fans with countless memories of his boundless talent. The world is a little less metal without him in it. Lee is survived by his wife of 54 years and a daughter Christina Erika Carandini.
Last Updated: June 11, 2015