Pro­lific Bri­tish ac­tor Sir Christo­pher Lee dies at age 93

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Christo­pher Lee, the pro­lific, aris­to­cratic Bri­tish ac­tor who brought dra­matic grav­i­tas to screen vil­lains from Count Drac­ula to James Bond en­emy Scara­manga, has died at age 93.

Lee ap­peared in more than 250 movies, in­clud­ing mem­o­rable roles as the wicked wiz­ard Saru­man in “The Lord of the Rings” tril­ogy and the evil Count Dooku in two of Ge­orge Lu­cas’ “Star Wars” pre­quels. But for many he will for­ever be known as the vam­pire Count Drac­ula in a slew of “Ham­mer Hor­ror” movies — the gory, gothic thrillers churned out by the Bri­tish stu­dio in the 1950s and 1960s that be­came hugely popular.

An of­fi­cial for the Royal Bor­ough of Kens­ing­ton and Chelsea in Lon­don on Thurs­day con­firmed a death cer­tifi­cate was is­sued for Lee on June 8. She spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity in keep­ing with the poli­cies of the bor­ough.

Christo­pher Frank Caran­dini Lee was born in Lon­don on May 27, 1922. His fa­ther was a Bri­tish army of­fi­cer who had served in the Boer War, his mother was Contessa Estelle Marie Caran­dini di Sarzano, an Ed­war­dian beauty of Ital­ian de­scent. His par­ents sep­a­rated when he was young, and his mother later re­mar­ried Har­court Rose, the un­cle of James Bond cre­ator Ian Flem­ing.

In 1957, Lee launched his hor­ror ca­reer, star­ring as the mon­ster in Ham­mer’s “The Curse of Franken­stein.” In 1958 Lee made his first ap­pear­ance as the fa­mous vam­pire in “Drac­ula,” op­po­site Peter Cush­ing’s Van Hels­ing.

He railed against the type­cast­ing, how­ever, and ul­ti­mately the sheer num­ber and range of his roles — from Sher­lock Holmes to the founder of Pak­istan — se­cured his place in film his­tory.

“I didn’t have dreams of be­ing a ro­man­tic lead­ing man,” Lee told The As­so­ci­ated Press in 2002. “But I dreamed of be­ing a char­ac­ter ac­tor, which I am.”


In a file pic­ture taken on Feb. 13, 2011 Bri­tish ac­tor Sir Christo­pher Lee, left, poses for pho­tog­ra­phers with film­maker Tim Bur­ton, right, af­ter re­ceiv­ing his BAFTA Bri­tish Academy Film Award for “Academy Fel­low­ship” at the Royal Opera House in cen­tral Lon­don.

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