“I think acting is a mixture of instinct, imagination and inventiveness. All you can learn as an actor is basic technique.” – one of the most memorable quotes from Sir Christopher Lee.
From his beginnings as one of the Horror Masters to James Bond, Star Wars to Lord of the Rings and even Heavy Metal singer, Sir Christopher Lee spanned the decades, generations, genres and mediums to become one of the most recognizable faces on the planet.
Son of a highly decorated Colonel from WWI and an Italian society beauty of her day, Lee had no initial aspirations to be an actor and in fact was a City Clerk before being drafted in to WWII. It wasn’t til after he had returned from the war as an intelligence officer with an RAF squadron through north Africa and Italy and a unit investigating war crimes that an Italian relative helped get him started as an actor with an executive complaining that Lee was “…too tall to be an actor”.
His portrayals of Dracula, were iconic and for some he is most memorable, like fellow horror actor Peter Cushing, for his work in the Hammer Horror films of the 1950s.
For others he will forever be Saruman from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies of movies, or rogue Jedi Count Dooku from the Star Wars Prequels, roles that he took on in his 70s, 80s and 90s.
Less well known was Lee’s love of the Heavy Metal music genre and in fact most recently was the release on his 92nd birthday of the album Metal Knight which included his singing a heavy metal version of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” which he recorded with the Italian band Rhapsody of Fire.
It is with great sadness that we lose such an amazing human being.
He is survived by his wife, Gitte (nee Kroncke), whom he married in 1961, and their daughter, Christina.
For a full obituary please visit the Guardian.