The Bell Tolls for Christopher Lee, 93

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A Legend of the screen, and WW2 hero Christopher Lee has passed away, aged 93.

via Wiki

Sir Christopher Frank Carandini LeeCBECStJ (27 May 1922 – 7 June 2015) was an English actor, singer and author. With a career spanning nearly seventy years, Lee initially portrayed villains and became best known for his role as Count Dracula in a sequence of Hammer Horror films. His other film roles include Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond filmThe Man with the Golden Gun (1974), Saruman in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy (2001–2003) and The Hobbit film trilogy (2012–2014), and Count Dooku in the final two films of the Star Wars prequel trilogy (2002 and 2005).

 

Modern audiences know Christopher Lee mainly from his recents roles in mega franchises Lord of the Rings where he played Saruman the White and  Count Dooku in Star Wars.  But Lee’s film career spanned seven decades including everything from James Bond Villian Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun, to numerous UK Hammer monster movies including Count Dracula.

What is not generally known are his actions as a young man in WW2.  Lee fought in North Africa against the German Afrika Corps, took part in the bitter Battle of Monte Cassino, was a member of the legendary Long Range Desert Patrol, the precursor of the British SAS Special forces but always declined to go into details.

“I was attached to the SAS from time to time but we are forbidden – former, present, or future – to discuss any specific operations. Let’s just say I was in Special Forces and leave it at that. People can read in to that what they like.”

Immediately postwar Lee who spoke fluent French and German was a Nazi hunter, assigned by the government to track down, capture and interrogate key Nazi targets.

After the war, Lee moved into acting after a lengthy apprenticeship:

“I was around a long time – nearly ten years. Initially, I was told I was too tall to be an actor. That’s a quite fatuous remark to make. It’s like saying you’re too short to play the piano. I thought, “Right, I’ll show you…” At the beginning I didn’t know anything about the technique of working in front of a camera, but during those 10 years, I did the one thing that’s so vitally important today – I watched, I listened and I learned. So when the time came I was ready… Oddly enough, to play a character who said nothing [The Creature in The Curse of Frankenstein].”

He remained there for the rest of his life, a career spanning seven decades. He additionally had a successful singing career with multiple albums including his first complete metal album Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross, which was critically acclaimed and awarded with the “Spirit of Metal” award from the 2010 Metal Hammer Golden Gods ceremony. He was the oldest performer in the history of the Heavy Metal genre.

Lee was Knighted by Prince Charles in 2009.

“It’s terribly when you lose an old friend, and Christopher Lee was one of my oldest. We first met in 1948.” – Roger Moore (Twitter)

“PM: Saddened to hear of Sir Christopher Lee’s death, a titan of Golden Age of Cinema & distinguished WW2 veteran who’ll be greatly missed” – UKPrimeMinister (Twitter)

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The bell tolls for you Mr. Lee.  The world is a better place for your valor and your kindness.

  • Ragnar Black

    Rest in Peace. You will be remembered..

  • Jeffrey Portalski

    Sad day, I remember watching him as Dracula when “Sir Graves Ghastly” horror theater when I was a kid… ahhh fond memories.

  • Retconned Legion

    The man was a legend. Truly one of the greatest actors who ever lived. He’ll be missed.

  • Bobsyouruncle

    I remember as a kid reading a Fighting Fantasy book with a dedication to him and Peter Cushing which went something like :-

    ” This book is dedicated to Cushing and Lee whose dramatic on screen exploits convinced one young boy that monsters , mad scientists and crumbling gothic ruins really do exist , if you want them to ” .

    This sort of sums up better than I could put it what I felt about this great man , he will be hugely missed .

  • Nermrod Nemrod

    He also was a very good friend of J.R.R. Tolkien, and quite the middle earth erudite, may Eru have his soul.

    Chris, you will be sorely missed.

    • Arthfael

      I read Lee said they only met once. But he really liked him.

  • WestFargo Dave

    Don’t worry, he will rise again, in fulfillment of the scriptures.

  • BonesoftheDesert

    Strange no one caught the detail he was a serious metalhead. It’s a little…odd…sounding, but interesting no less. Check out his stuff on iTunes or whatever.

  • CoffeeGrunt

    I’ll be honest, I mainly know him as Saruman, but the guy’s a legend. Gotta love him for releasing metal at so ripe an age, and still doing acting roles here and there right up ’til the end.

    There’s a hilarious story of how Peter Jackson was giving him directions on how to act when Grima stabs him in the back, and apparently Lee turns to Jackson and informs him that he knows how a man acts when he’s stabbed in the back.

    Jackson, funnily enough, didn’t question any further…

  • pickle

    Great man, a hero. He read Lord of the Rings once a year. His early hammer films are still worth a watch. Rest in peace.

  • Froggars .

    Now he will rest in Valhall, to drink and feast with Gods and fathers,

  • Jared van Kell

    This man was, is and always will be a true and shining example of what it is to embrace your dreams and actually make them a reality. Instead of mourning his loss, I will celebrate his life.

    JvK B)

  • Guv’nor

    A true hero and he will be sorely missed.
    Sir Christopher had a full life serving his country with honour then inspired others in later life with a great talent for acting.
    R.I.P

  • euansmith

    Ron Moody died today too. Shame.

    Christopher Lee delivered two of my favourite lines in films; Lord Summerisle, “They do love their divinity lessons…” and Duc de Richleau, “It is the Goat of Mendes… the Devil himself!”. I could listen to him all day.

  • silashand

    One of the true greats. He will definitely be missed.

  • plasmaspam

    A great man who leaves a great legacy for film and the fantasy genres.

    May he RIP with his peers Cushing, Price, et al, knowing he was loved and respected.

  • Shawn

    He is a true legend, and will always be missed.

  • Emdee

    A great talent lost. You will be missed sir. R.I.P.

  • Jay

    Fantastic man with a beautiful life and career.

  • Azatoth

    Member of Winston Churchill’s “Ministry for Ungentlemanly Warfare” during WW II. Volunteer in the Finnish Winter War against the Sowjets. Olympic Level Fencer. Secret Agent and possibly the inspiration for James Bond (Ian Flemming was his cousin and they both worked in the MfUGW). Member in 3 stuntmen organisations. The most successful actor ever in regards to movie earnings. (Remember he played in Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.) in addition of his other movies.
    He was the man Chuck Norris was afraid of. 😉
    A truely great man passed today!

  • jazeroth

    what a legend

  • nurglitch

    He was awesome.