Birth name Christopher Frank Carandini Lee NationalityUnited-kingdom Birth 27 may 1922 at Belgravia (United-kingdom) Death 7 june 2015 (at 93 years) Awards Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award
Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, CBE (27 May 1922 – 7 June 2015) was an English actor, singer, author, and World War II veteran. 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 Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond film The 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).
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 (1998), 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 at the 2010 Metal Hammer Golden God awards ceremony.
Lee died from complications of respiratory problems and heart failure in a Chelsea hospital on the morning of 7 June 2015 at the age of 93.
The Carandinis, Lee's maternal ancestors, were given the right to bear the coat of arms of the Holy Roman Empire by the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Cinemareview notes: "Cardinal Consalvi was Papal Secretary of State at the time of Napoleon and is buried at the Pantheon in Rome next to the painter Raphael. His painting, by Lawrence, hangs in Windsor Castle."
Lee was a step-cousin of Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond spy novels, and a distant relative of Robert E. Lee and the astronomer John Lee.
Lee was engaged for a time in the late fifties to Henriette von Rosen, whom he met at a nightclub in Stockholm. Her father, Count Fritz von Rosen, proved demanding, getting them to delay the wedding for a year, asking his London-based friends to interview Lee, hiring private detectives to investigate him, and asking Lee to provide him with references, which Lee obtained from Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., John Boulting and Joe Jackson. Lee found the meeting of her extended family to be like something from a surrealist Luis Buñuel film and thought they were "killing me with cream". Finally, Lee had to have the permission of the King of Sweden to marry. Lee had met him some years before whilst filming Tales of Hans Anderson and received his blessing. However, shortly before the wedding, Lee ended the engagement. He was concerned that his financial insecurity in his chosen profession meant that she "deserved better" than being "pitched into the dishevelled world of an actor". She understood and they called the wedding off.
Lee was introduced to Danish painter and former model Birgit "Gitte" Krøncke by a Danish friend and his wife in 1960. They were engaged soon after and married on 17 March 1961. They had a daughter, Christina Erika Carandini Lee (b. 1963), who married Juan Francisco Aneiros Rodriguez in July 2001. Lee was also the uncle of the British actress Dame Harriet Walter. Both Lee and his daughter Christina provided spoken vocals on Rhapsody of Fire's album From Chaos to Eternity.
Known for his imposing height, Lee stood 6 ft 5 in (1.95 m) tall. Lee and his wife Birgit were listed as among the fifty best-dressed over 50 by the Guardian in March 2013.
Lee was a supporter of the British Conservative Party. He described Michael Howard as "the ideal person to lead the party" in 2003 and supported William Hague and David Cameron.
Contrary to popular belief, Lee did not have a vast library of occult books. When giving a speech at the University College Dublin on 8 November 2011, he said: "Somebody wrote I have 20,000 books. I'd have to live in a bath! I have maybe four or five [occult books]." He further admonished the students against baneful occult practices, warning them that he had met "people who claimed to be Satanists. Who claimed to be involved with black magic."; however, he himself had certainly never been involved: "I warn all of you: never, never, never. You will not only lose your mind, you'll lose your soul.
, 1h51 Directed byBille August OriginSuisse GenresDrama, Thriller, Crime, Romance ActorsJeremy Irons, Christopher Lee, Bruno Ganz, Mélanie Laurent, Martina Gedeck, Jack Huston Roles Father Bartholomeu Rating67% Walking over a bridge in Bern, Raimund Gregorius, a Swiss professor of ancient languages, notices a young woman in a red coat standing on the railing, about to leap. Dropping his briefcase, he runs and pulls her down. She helps him gather the papers that have spilled from his briefcase and accompanies him to the school where he teaches. But instead of waiting to talk, she leaves during the middle of his class, without her coat.
, 2h41 Directed byPeter Jackson OriginUSA GenresDrama, Science fiction, Fantasy, Action, Adventure ThemesFilms about animals, Films about magic and magicians, Monde imaginaire, Middle-earth films, Films about dragons, Children's films ActorsIan McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Lee Pace Roles Saruman Rating77% Thorin and his company are being pursued by Azog and his Orc party following the events of the previous film. They are ushered along by Gandalf to the nearby home of Beorn, a skin-changer who can take the form of the bear. That night, Azog is summoned to Dol Guldur by the Necromancer, who commands him to marshal his forces for war. Azog then delegates the hunt for Thorin to his son Bolg. The following day, Beorn escorts the company to the borders of Mirkwood, where Gandalf discovers Black Speech imprinted on an old ruin. This coincides with a telepathic message from Galadriel urging him to investigate the tombs of the Nazgûl. He warns the company to remain on the path and leaves them. Upon entering the forest they lose their way and are ensnared by giant spiders. Bilbo then sets about freeing the dwarves with the help of his recently acquired invisibility ring. He subsequently drops the Ring and first begins to understand its dark influence after he brutally kills a centipede-like creature to retrieve it.