Sir Christopher Lee
(1922-2015) Rest in Peace
by Mitchell Burns
At 8:30 am, Sunday June 7th, Sir Christopher Lee passed away after heart problems and respiratory failure. The actors wife, Birgit Kroencke, smartly withheld the information until today, June 11th, in order to allow her family some privacy to grieve.
Sir Christopher Lee was a prolific actor, heavy metal singer and author. The actor has had roles in over 250 films, which include a long list of voice work, as he had a voice that was suited for many animated features.
In Christopher Lee’s early career he played such iconic characters as Jekyll and Hyde, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Mummy, as well as the vampire Dracula NINE TIMES! Lee also played Sherlock Holmes twice, and was in several 3 Musketeers films.
in 1974, three years before moving from England to the United States, Christopher Lee played The James Bond Villain Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun. Christopher Lee was cousins with Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond Novels, fleming had wanted Lee for an earlier Bond film but it didn’t work out.
In his late 70’s, early 80’s, Christopher Lee showed no signs of slowing down, playing a few roles that would make him memorable for my generation.
Lee’s role as Count Dooku, the antagonist in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, was a wonderful villainous role for Lee, putting the fear into us young kids. Tim Burton enjoyed the work of Christopher Lee as well, casting him in four of his films.
The role of Lee’s I hold most dear, is that of the White Wizard Saruman in the film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Lee stated that he read The Lord of the Rings Trilogy yearly, and always wanted to play Gandalf, but when the films were being made he knew he was too old to play such a titular role. Saruman suited Christopher Lee more, as there was less swordplay and horseback riding. Christopher Lee is the only cast & crew of The Lord of the Rings to have met J.R.R. Tolkien himself. Lee went on to play Saruman twice more in The Hobbit trilogy.
One thing I learned about Christopher Lee is he was upset about his death scene being cut from ‘The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King’, it was later included in the extended edition of the film. I agree with Sir Lee here, as I love the scene, it provides a great final moment for Saruman and his old friend Gandalf, and it’s one that should have been left in the film.
Thanks for Your long career Sir Christopher Lee, Rest in Peace.