Christopher Lee Biography
Died At Age: 93
Sun Sign: Gemini
Born in: Belgravia, Westminster, London, England, UK
Famous as: Character actor
father: Geoffrey Trollope Lee
mother: Contessa Estelle Marie
children: Christina Erika Carandini Lee
place of death: London
education: Wagner's private school, Wellington College of Berkshire,
Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was a famous English actor and singer, and was best known for his work in horror films produced by Hammer Studios. He collaborated in ‘Star Wars’ with his good friend Peter Cushing who played Grand Moff Tarkin. He himself portrayed Count Dooku, a character with superhuman powers who had once been on the side of good but had fallen evil. Sir Christopher appeared as the primary villain Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond film, ‘The man with the golden gun’. He also worked with George Lucas on Lucas’s 1992 television series, ‘The young Indiana Jones chronicles’, in which he portrayed Count Ottokar Graf Czerin in the episode ‘Austria, March 1917’. Sir Christopher played the wizard Saruman in the ‘Lord of the rings trilogy’ which won him high accolades. He tried his hands at music too and came out with his CD ‘Revelation’. He also worked with the Italian power metal band ‘Rhapsody of Fire’, singing in few of their songs along with the lead singer. He was honored with the ‘Spirit of Metal’ award in the 2010 Metal Hammer Golden God awards.
- He was born into one of the oldest families in Europe to a British Army Officer Geoffrey Trollope Lee and his wife, Contessa Estelle Marie (nee Carandidni di Sarzano).
- His parents separated when he was quite young, and his mother took him and his sister to Switzerland.
- He was enrolled in Miss Fisher’s Academy in Wengen where he played his first villainous role as Rumpelstiliskin. Soon, the family returned to London and he got admitted at Summer Field’s School, a preparatory school in Oxford. Afterwards, he took a scholarship at Eton College and Wellington College where he was a classical scholar in ancient Greek and Latin.
- In 1939, he enlisted in the Royal Air Force during Second World War from where he retired later with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. He also served as an Intelligence Officer with the Long Range Desert Group in Northern Africa and in the Special Forces.
- He was admitted to ‘Central Registry of War Criminals and Security Suspects’ post-war and was assigned the task of tracking down Nazi war criminals.
- In 1947, he entered the film industry and earned a seven-year contract with the Rank Organization. He got enrolled in an acting school for the rank organization where young contract players were being groomed for stardom. Soon he made his film debut in Terence Young’s ‘Corridors of Mirrors’ which was a gothic romance.
- 1952 proved to be a turning point in his career when Douglas Fairbanks Jr. started making films at the British National Studios. In the same year, he appeared in John Huston’s ‘Moulin Rouge’ which was later nominated for Oscars.
- In 1959, he starred in Hammer’s ‘The Mummy’ and portrayed Rasputin in ‘Rasputin, the mad monk’. In the same year, he also played the role of Sir Henry Baskerville in ‘The hound of the Baskervilles’.
- In 1962, he did ‘Sherlock Holmes and the deadly necklace’ and played a leading role in the German film ‘The Puzzle of the red orchid’ thee same year.
- He returned to Holmes’ films with Billy Wilder’s ‘The private life of Sherlock Holmes’ (1970).
- Other films in which he performed were Fu Manchu films (1965-69), ‘The creeping flesh’ (1972), ‘The wicker man’ (1973), two German films namely ‘Count Dracula’ and ‘The torture chamber of Dr. Sadism’. He worked in few European movies as well including, ‘Castle of the living dead’ and ‘Horror express’.
- In 1974, he was cast as James Bond villain Francisco Scaramanga in ‘The man with the golden gun’
- In 1977, he left for America and did a number of films including, ‘The return of Captain Invincible’ (1982), and ‘Howling II: Striba- Werewolf bitch’ (1985). He appeared as Sherlock Holmes in ‘Incident at Victoria falls’ (1991) and ‘Sherlock Holmes and the leading lady’ (1992).
- In 1994, he starred as a Russian Commander in ‘Police Academy: Mission to Moscow’.
- In 1998, he played the role of founder of modern Pakistan, ‘Muhammad Ali Jinnah’, in the film ‘Jinnah’. The film received an overwhelmingly positive response in Pakistan and he confessed his performance in it to be the favorite role of his career so far.
- He did many television roles including the role of Flay in BBC mini-series (2000) and Stephen Wyszynski in the CBS film, ‘John Paul: The Second’ (2005).
- In 2009, he appeared in Stephen Poliakoff’s British drama ‘Glorious 39’, a war film ‘Triage’, and Duncan Ward’s comedy ‘Boogie Woogie’.
- In 2011, he appeared in Hammer’s film, ‘The Resident’, alongside Hillary Swank and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The film received negative response from the critics. In the same year, he appeared in the critically acclaimed ‘Hugo’, directed by Martin Scorsese.
- He did many voice-overs including the voice of King Haggard in ‘The last unicorn’, and Thor in German dubs in the Danish film ‘Valhalla’. He also provided his voice for the English dub of ‘Monsieur Hulot’s holiday’, and in the animated versions of ‘Soul music’ and ‘Wyrd sisters’.
- He provided his voice in many video games as well, which include ‘Kingdon Hearts II’, Kingdom Hearts 352/2 days’, ‘The lord of the rings: The battle for middle-earth’ and ‘Golden Eye: Rouge agent’.
- With his classically trained bass voice, he provided vocals to a song in ‘The return of Captain Invincible’, and Kathy Joe Dayler’s song ‘The little witch’.
- In 1957, he bagged the role of Frankenstein’s monster in Hammer’s ‘The curse of Frankenstein’. Thereafter, he appeared as the Transylvanian vampire in Hammer’s ‘Dracula’, which was inspired by Bram Stoker’s novel of the similar name. It was a critical and commercial success and was well received by critics and fans alike.
- In 1965, he returned to the role of Dracula in Hammer’s second installment of ‘Dracula’ series, ‘Dracula: Prince of Darkness’, which was well received by the critics. Furthermore, he starred in ‘Dracula has risen from the Grave’ (1968), ‘Taste the blood of Dracula’ (1969), and ‘Scars of Dracula’ (1970), all of which were commercially successful all over.
- He introduced Dennis Wheatley, an occult novelist, to Hammer, who made a movie based on his novel, starring Lee. This movie was ‘The Devil rides out’ (1967), which is considered to be Hammer’s greatest achievement.
- In 1973, he appeared in Richard Lester’s, ‘Three musketeers’. In the following year, he did ‘The four musketeers: Milady’s Revenge’. In 1989, he reprised his role in ‘The return of the Musketeers’.
- From 2001 to 2003, he appeared as Saruman in the fantasy adventure film, ‘The lord of the rings trilogy’, directed by Peter Jackson and based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. It was considered to be one of the biggest and most ambitious film projects ever taken, and proved to be a turning point in his career.
- He also appeared as villainous Count Dooku in separate installments of the ‘Star Wars’ films including, ‘Star Wars: Episode II- Attack of the clones’ (2002), and ‘Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge of the sith’ (2005).
- He did several films with Tim Burton which elevated him to the ladder of success. These films were ‘Corpse Bride’ (2005) and ‘Charlie and the chocolate factory’ (2005). In 2007, he collaborated with Burton on ‘Sweeney Todd: The demon barber of Fleet Street’ and in 2009, he marked his fourth collaboration with him in adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic book ‘Alice in Wonderland’. 2012 saw his fifth collaboration with Burton on ‘Dark shadows’, which was an adaptation of the Gothic soap opera.
- On March 15, 2010, he released his first metal album, ‘Charlemagne: By the sword and the cross’.
- On May 27, 2012, he announced the release of his new single ‘Let legend mark me as the king’ from his upcoming album ‘Charlemagne: The omens of death’. In the same year he released an EP of heavy metal covers called ‘A heavy metal Christmas’.
- In 1984, he won ‘International Fantasy Film Award’ for his contribution to the fantasy film genre.
- In 1995, he won Bram Stoker’s ‘Lifetime Achievement Award.’
- In 2002, he was given a ‘Special Award’ for lifetime achievement by evening standard British film awards. In the same year he won ‘online film critics society award’ under the category ‘Best Ensemble’ for ‘Lord of the rings: The fellowship of the ring’ and ‘Phoenix film critics’ society award’ under the category ‘Best Acting Ensemble’ for the same movie.
- In 2003, he won ‘MTV Movie Award’ for the ‘Best Fight’ in ‘Star Wars episode II: Attack of the clones’. He also won ‘Online film critics society award’ and ‘Phoenix film critics society award’ under the category ‘Best Ensemble’ for the movie, ‘Lord of the rings: The two towers’. In the same year, he earned the ‘Living Treasure Award’ by Seattle film critics’ award.
- In 2011, he was awarded the ‘BAFTA Academy Fellowship’ by Tim Burton. In the same year, he was honored with a tribute by University College, Dublin and the Bram Stoker’s gold medal by the philosophical society of Trinity College. The government of France made him a commander of the order of arts and letters.
- In 1961, he married a Danish model Birgit ‘Gitte’ Lee and has a daughter with her named, Christina Erika Carandini Lee. He and his wife were listed among the fifty best-dressed over 50s by the ‘Guardian’ in March, 2013.
- He died of respiratory problems on June 11, 2015, at the age of 93.
- He appeared on the album cover ‘Band on the run’, performed by Paul McCartney’s band ‘Wings’.
- He was the follower of British Conservative Party and was a supporter of William Hague and David Cameron.
Christopher Lee Movies
1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
(Drama, Fantasy, Adventure)
2. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
(Drama, Fantasy, Adventure)
3. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
(Adventure, Action, Drama, Fantasy)
4. Hamlet (1948)
5. The Wicker Man (1973)
(Mystery, Thriller, Horror)
6. Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951)
(Adventure, Drama, Action, History, War)
7. Jinnah (1998)
(Biography, Drama, War)
8. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
(Fantasy, Family, Adventure)
|2003||Best Fight||Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)|
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