Thursday, June 11, 2015

Remembering Christopher Lee

A legend of film and stage has made his last curtain call. Sir Christopher Lee, best known for his villainous roles in horror and science fiction has died at the age of 93.

One of the most prolific actors in the business Lee began his career in 1946 on British television after serving in the military during World War II but soon found himself in great demand on the big screen and the London stage. With well over 200 film and TV appearances Lee's face and powerful Shakespearean bravado is one of the most recognizable on the planet.

Some of his most famous performances include early television programs such as “Tales of Hans Andersen,” “Rheingold Theatre,” “The Errol Flynn Theatre” and “Assignment Foreign Legion.” It was on these early 1940’s and 1950’s British television shows that Lee honed his craft which would eventually move him onto the big screen where he became one of the most unique and sought after talents in the industry.

His first real creature feature was 1957’s “The Curse of Frankenstein,” a film that gave him a flair for horror that would never leave him. From there he went on to star in “Horror of Dracula,” “Corridors of Blood,” “The Mummy,” “The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll” and so many other classic fright films.

By the early 1960’s he started becoming recognizable by American audiences and made several televised appearances in the colonies like the award winning series “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.” Then came the film that would forever set him in the archives. In 1965 he starred as the lead character in “The Face of Fu Manchu” and his path was set. He went on to star in several Fu Manchu sequels cementing his place as one of the kings of the genre.

By the mid 1970’s Lee’s name became synonymous with horror films right up there with Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi and longtime British friend and actor Peter Cushing.

In 1974 he received another big boost to his career that allowed him to move away from pure horror into the category of film villain when he took the role of Scaramanga in the James Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun.”

Even more success was to follow Lee in the latter half of his life with roles in such iconic franchise films like “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies, as well as his unforgettable role of Count Dooku for the Star Wars films and animated television series.

Lee was the recipient of various awards including a BAFTA Film award, an ACCA, Bram Stoker and Cinema for Peace Awards, just to name a few.

Sir Christopher Lee will be greatly missed by all those who loved watching him do what he did best - performing.

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