We’ve lost a true legend! The iconic star of stage and screen Christopher Lee has died at the age of 93. The actor, who is best known for his work in the Hammer horror films as well as villainous turns in the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings movies, was being treated for respiratory problems at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London when he passed away.
Born in Westminster in 1922, Lee found fame playing Count Dracula in a series of films for Hammer Horror, and continued to play bad guys for the rest of his career. He was a great Bond villain when he played Scaramanga in The Man With the Golden Gun, and perhaps his greatest ever performance was as Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man. With a career spanning nearly 70 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 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) and Star Wars: The Clone Wars (200. He has more than 280 credits to his name on IMDB, making memorable appearances in the likes of To the Devil a Daughter, Death Line, Race to Witch Mountain, Gremlins 2, Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Golden Compass and Hugo.
Lee was knighted for services to drama and charity in 2009, received the BAFTA Fellowship in 2011 and received the BFI Fellowship in 2013. Lee considered his best performance to be that of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the biopic Jinnah (199, and his best film to be the British horror film The Wicker Man (1973). Always noted as an actor for his deep strong voice, Lee was also known for his singing ability, recording various opera and musical pieces between 1986 and 1998 and the symphonic metal album Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross in 2010 after having worked with several metal bands since 2005. The heavy metal follow-up titled Charlemagne: The Omens of Death was released on 27 May 2013. He was honoured with the “Spirit of Metal” award in the 2010 Metal Hammer Golden God awards ceremony.
Lee died at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital on 7 June 2015 at 8:30 a.m. after being admitted for respiratory problems and heart failure, shortly after celebrating his 93rd birthday there. His wife delayed the public announcement until 11 June, in order to break the news to their family.