Sir Christopher Lee Dies; ‘Lord of the Rings’ And ‘Dracula’ Actor Was 93
Sir Christopher Lee, veteran actor known as the master of horror, died after being hospitalized for respiratory problems and heart failure. He was 93.
Lee, best known for his work in films like “Dracula,” “The Wicker Man” and the unforgettable The Lord of the Rings trilogy, passed away at 8:30 a.m. Sunday at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, as reported by The Guardian.
He received knighthood in 2009 for his services to drama and charity, and won the BAFTA fellowship in 2011, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
Tim Burton said Lee was “a true legend.”
“Christopher has been an enormous inspiration to me my entire life. I had the honour and pleasure to work with him on five films (Sleepy Hollow, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, Alice In Wonderland and Dark Shadows).
“He was the last of his kind – a true legend – who I’m fortunate to have called a friend. He will continue to inspire me and I’m sure countless others for generations to come.”
Celebrities took to social media to pay tribute to the actor; these included co-stars from Lord of the Rings, Dominic Monaghan and Elijah Wood, and James Bond from “The Man with the Golden Gun,” Sir Roger Moore.
Prime minister David Cameron described Lee as a “titan of the golden age of cinema.” London mayor Boris Johnson posted a picture of him and Lee together.
Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, born on May 27, 1922, served in the Royal Air Force in World War II. It was after being suggested by a cousin that he took up acting.
Playing a range of characters, including Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster and the Mummy for Hammer films, from the late 1950s until 1970s, he received worldwide acclaim and recognition.
“The Curse of Frankenstein,” Lee’s first movie with Hammer films, was one of the 20 films he worked in with Peter Cushing.
In a 2001 interview, Lee had said, “Hammer was an important part of my life, and generally speaking, we all had a lot of fun.”
Some of his most recent appearances included Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” and Tim Burton’s black comedy “Dark Shadows,” which also starred Johnny Depp.
The actor was to star in a 9/11 drama called “The 11th” starring Uma Thurman. The movie was scheduled to begin filming in November.
Lee spoke about his passion for acting in an interview in 2013. He said, “Making films has never just been a job to me, it is my life. I have some interests outside of acting – I sing and I’ve written books, for instance – but acting is what keeps me going, it’s what I do, it gives life purpose.”
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