Christopher Lee, Iconic Horror Actor and Heavy Metal Musician, Dies at 93
Sir Christopher Lee -- the iconic horror actor and, later in life, heavy metal musician -- has died at age 93. He passed on Sunday morning (June 7) after being hospitalized for respiratory complications and heart failure.
Lee was born in Belgravia in London in 1922. After volunteering in World War II, Lee made his acting debut in 1947’s Corridor of Mirrors. In another 10 years, he made his first appearance in a Hammer Pictures production, portraying Frankenstein's monster in The Curse of Frankenstein in 1957. The role led to a string of Hammer films playing Dracula, including 1958’s Horror of Dracula, 1966’s Dracula: Prince of Darkness and 1968’s Dracula Has Risen From the Grave.
After concluding his successful run as Dracula, Lee continued to have a prolific career, notably appearing in The Wicker Man in 1973 and portraying a James Bond villain in 1974’s The Man With the Golden Gun.
In the ‘90s and beyond, Lee took up both acting and voice roles in a series of movies directed by Tim Burton, including Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Corpse Bride and Alice in Wonderland. The actor also famously portrayed Saruman in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as well as Count Dooku in the latter two Star Wars prequels.
In addition to a fruitful acting career, later in life, Lee released a pair of solo heavy metal albums: 2010’s Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross and 2013’s Charlemagne: The Omens of Death.
In 2009, Lee was knighted for his contributions to film and charity work. In 2011, he received BAFTA’s lifetime achievement Fellowship award.
After the news of Lee’s death broke, musicians took to Twitter to remember the late actor: