Jun 112015

Sad news today as it’s being reported that the mighty Christopher Lee passed away a few days ago at the age of 93. Like many of those of my generation, my introduction to him was through the many Hammer horror films that he made, especially the Dracula movies. While Bela Lugosi will always be my favorite Dracula, I really enjoyed his take on the role of being more primal, savage, and animalistic. While he normally played the heavy in most of his Hammer films (he was superb as the pirate captain in The Pirates of Blood River), he was also compelling as the hero in movies like The Devil Rides Out.

Christopher Lee
The sheer number of iconic movie franchises that Christopher Lee has been in is truly staggering. He played Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the Mummy in the Hammer movies, and he was also the James Bond villain Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun. He had a collaboration with Tim Burton, appearing in movies like Sleepy Hollow and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Of course, younger fans know him as Saruman from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies and as Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequels. Whew! Then you factor in that he was a couple of episodes of the classic British show, The Avengers.

The more I learned about Christopher Lee, the more I respected him. He was truly a renaissance man as he was educated, spoke several languages, and had a multitude of talents. He was friends with J.R.R. Tolkien and had re-read The Lord of the Rings every year. His service during World War Ii is also worthy of note. He trained as a pilot, went into intelligence work, and was a commando with the Special Operations Executive and the Long Range Desert Patrol. One of his jobs was to track down Nazis. In The Return of the King, Peter Jackson was directing him on how to react when Saruman gets stabbed in the back. Christopher Lee told Jackson that he knew how to react as he had actually heard the sound a man makes when getting stabbed in the back.

Lastly, Christopher Lee was very involved with music as well. He had sung opera but many were stunned when he began to release heavy metal albums in his late 80s and early 90s. I wonder if there was anything that he could not do. All of fandom will greatly miss Christopher Lee now that he has passed on. I think that I’ll watch one of his Hammer movies tonight to celebrate his life. As for now, here’s a heavy metal song of his for you to enjoy.

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