Today comes the sad news that Sir Christopher Lee has passed away at the age of 93. But with over seven decades of film and television work to his name, Lee has left behind a rich legacy that will still delight audiences for decades to come.
Lee’s life was exciting from the start, serving in WWII as part of the SAS, a role that he politely declined to talk about, citing the agreement he made to never speak about their classified operations. Returning home from the war, Lee decided to train as an actor, and like many starting out, his first years in the business were mostly inauspicious. But in 1957 everything changed when he appeared in Hammer Films‘ “The Curse Of Frankenstein” and it was the start of two things: his longtime association with the genre film company, and his friendship with Peter Cushing. Indeed, for nearly two decades, Lee was the face for Hammer, particularly in his role as Dracula in countless films.
Lee continued to grow as a respected character actor in the post-Hammer years, but in the 2000s he became a major player in two high profile franchises: the “Star Wars” prequels and Peter Jackson‘s “Lord Of The Rings” and “The Hobbit” films. It reintroduced Lee to a new generation of movie fans, and cemented his status as one of genre films’ most beloved actors.
This brief write-up only scratches the surface of his contribution to cinema. His presence will be sorely missed, but his prolific work to discover and rediscover will continue to give us much to enjoy.