Film actor Christopher Lee has died aged 93. His film career began in 1947 with a role in gothic romance Corridor of Mirrors but it wasn’t until the late 1950s, when Christopher Lee started working with Hammer Horror Films, that he became a household name.
Christopher Lee’s first role with Hammer Horror Films was The Curse of Frankenstein and it was the first of twenty films that he made with Peter Cushing: the pair seemed inseparable on Hammer Films celluloid . Christopher Lee’s most famous role for Hammer was playing Dracula. In the 1970s he continued to gain fame in the horror genre with a role in The Wicker Man, a film which he and the Record Press author considered to be his best film. Christopher Lee described it as a “Wonderful film… had a hell of a time getting it made. Its power lies in the fact that you never expect what eventually happens, because everyone is so nice.”
Christopher Lee also played the Bond villain, Scaramanga, in 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun, another favourite film of mine and certainly in a top five best Bond films. However there were some career miscalculations and mistakes: Christopher Lee declined a role in Halloween, which he later admitted was one of his biggest career regrets. He also turned down a role in Airplane!, something he also regretted. His anxiety over being typecast in horror films led him to Hollywood and roles in Airport ‘77 and Steven Spielberg’s 1941. Christopher Lee’s career saw a reprise in 2001 with a role as Saruman in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and then as Count Dooku in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
Christopher Lee also became a regular collaborator with Tim Burton, who cast him in Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland and Dark Shadows. Burton went on to award him with a Bafta fellowship.
Christopher Lee also indulged a love of music throughout much of his career, including a song on The Wicker Man soundtrack. He released his first full-length album Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross in 2010. It was well-received by the heavy metal community and won him the spirit of metal award at the 2010 Metal Hammer Golden Gods ceremony. His 2013 single Jingle Hell entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 22, which made him the oldest living artist to ever enter the charts.
What’s your favourite Christopher Lee film? Let us know in the Reply Box below.
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