Sir Christopher Lee, star of many horror, fantasy and sci-fi films, has died aged 93. Although his death has only just been made public, officials say he died on Sunday. It’s believed he had been taken to hospital with breathing problems and heart failure.
His first credited role came in 1947 and his last on-air appearance was in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies last year. However, he had already recorded on-screen and voiceover work for three movies yet to be released.
With the sheer breadth of his career — IMDB credits him with almost 300 roles in movies, TV shows and video games — it’s tough to label anything as being his best known work. Today’s youngest generation will perhaps best recognize him as Saruman in The Lord of the Rings trilogy (and associated games) and Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequels, roles he took on in his 80s.
To an older generation he was Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun, while he originally made his name in Hammer horror movies in such iconic roles as Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster. Unlike some actors who make their name, fall into obscurity and then reinvent themselves as an older performer, Lee worked consistently, albeit concentrating more on TV movies in the 1980s.
Lee also had a side career in music, recording everything from opera to Italian disco before taking the somewhat unusual career path of concentrating on metal in his late 80s. In 2013 he became the oldest ever living performer to have a song on the Billboard charts with his metal take on Jingle Bells.