ByAnthony DiChiara, writer at
I'm the Creator of The Gray Guardian, author of The Human Factor, The Grinning Man , and the children's book, If I Had Super Powers
Anthony DiChiara

To call actor Christopher Lee "iconic" is to not fully understand the actor's scope and appeal. Lee played iconic characters like Dracula, the James Bond villain Scaramanga, Sherlock Holmes, Count Dooku from Star Wars, and Saruman from the Lord of the Rings— These characters made him a legend.

Lee made over 200 films during his 69 years in the film industry, but it wasn't until his long association with Hammer Films that made him a household name and an international star. His first film for Hammer was 1957's Curse of Frankenstein in which he portrayed the Frankenstein Monster. But it wasn't until Lee put on the cape and fangs to play Dracula in 1958's Horror of Dracula, that really launched his career. Lee went on to make over 20 films for Hammer (most of them with fellow actor and friend Peter Cushing), before deciding to leave Great Britain for the United States.

Once in the States, Lee was able to branch out and play many diverse parts ,and appear in many different genres, including comedies (and even a Disney movie). In 1978 he even appeared on Saturday Night Live as guest host.

Less known about Lee was his voice over work, and his music career. Lee sang in several movies and collaborated with various rock artists. He also appeared on dozens of TV shows, such as The Avengers (the 60's British TV series), Space 1999, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, How the West was Won, Captain America II (The cheesy TV movie, not the hit film), and Charlie's Angels.

Lee was born in Belgravia, Westminster, London on May 27th, 1922. His maternal ancestors were nobles and his mother was a contessa. His step-cousin was James Bond creator, Ian Flemming.

Lee was admitted to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital for respiratory problems. He died on July 7th, from heart failure. He had just turned 93.


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