Sir Christopher Lee, 93, passed away at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London. The star was being treated for respiratory issues and heart failure which had become ongoing issues for the past three weeks. He died this past Sunday morning, however his wife opted to withhold the information from the public, likely until she could tell friends and family herself, as well as cope with her own losses.
In honor of Christopher Lee, I've put together a list of the roles that I personally felt help shape my love for movies. When you take the time to look into all the roles he's played, you begin to realize just how crucial he's been in so many important films. It's a tragedy that we don't remember to appreciate many talents until they aren't around to see it.
This might seem slightly terrifying, but I've been watching the Lord of the Rings movies since I was only four years old. My parents showed me "The Making of Lord of the Rings" in the DVD bonus features to be sure I knew the 'scary monsters' in the film weren't real, and let me watch. Saruman and Gandalf were two characters I used to run around the house pretending to be by taking those inner tubes from Christmas present wrapping paper and either taping an upside down root in the end for Gandalf or cutting the tube to make it jagged and sticking a ball of aluminum foil in the end for Saruman.
You may not have recognized when watching the movie, but Christopher Lee actually voiced the Jabberwocky in Disney's live action adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. Alice in Wonderland was a film that essentially defined my friends and I's middle school years due to the fact that being a bit crazy was something accepted, and practically encouraged. I still have some of the notes that my friend Megan and I passed back and forth during math class threatening to cut off each other's heads, release the Jubjub Bird on each other, and attack the other with a Jabberwocky.
Seeing Christopher Lee as Count Dooku in the second Star Wars film was one of the first times I had ever notice an actor play more than one part. That was a bit of a confusing concept to a five year old. I remember seeing the movie for the first time and saying to myself "Saruman got a haircut!" which looking back wasn't a half-bad observation. Star Wars Episode III was the very first movie I ever went to go see more than once in the theater, and I went with my Elementary school best friend Will, who got annoyed because I continuously tapped him on the shoulder to tell him the scene coming up was 'so cool'.
The childhood wonder of a movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was both the first movie I played the video game version of, the first remake movie I had ever come across, and the first movie that I had ever read the book for. All of that right there is pretty revolutionary for a kid to come across. It was also weird wrapping my mind around Jack Sparrow actor Johnny Depp being the son of Saruman/Dooku. I still remember my dad cracking a dentist joke, saying "Well I guess that's why they call him Saruman the White. He knows how to floss!" Back then, dad's jokes were still funny.