Sir Christopher Lee, 27 May 1922 - 7 June 2015.
One of Sir Christopher Lee's most discerning qualities lies within his deep voice and sinister presence. This had led the British actor to land several iconic roles that are mostly villainous in nature just his fellow actor friends Peter Cushing and Vincent Price.
Although there are other roles that Lee took on just to break free from the typecast, he almost landed the role of "X-Men's" Magneto but it eventually went to his "The Lord of the Rings" co-star, Sir Ian McKellen. Imagine if he had that role under his belt too! Always one to lean on the dark side and use it to his advantage, Lee had also frequently collaborated with filmmaker Tim Burton, appearing in over five of the latter's films. Just to prove how bad-ass he is, at the age of 88 he released his first metal album (which he sang on), Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross (2010) and with his second album, released when he was 90, it officially made him the oldest living person in the history of the genre.
Looking back at his starring roles in over 200 movies, it wasn't an easy job selecting his five most iconic ones, but here they are!
"The Wicker Man" (1973)
Lee considered this as his best movie and we do too. This mystery horror musical saw him playing the leader of a Celtic paganism cult, Lord Summerisle. Lee was so into getting the film made despite its small budget that he and some of the others worked without pay!
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
Playing his role as the 'dark side' of Roger Moore's James Bond character, Lee played assassin Francisco Scaramanga who was cool, suave, and deadly evil as 'The Man with the Golden Gun'. We're pretty sure you didn't know that Lee is the step-cousin of "James Bond" author Ian Fleming!
"Dracula" series (1958 – 1973)
The most iconic Sir Christopher Lee role ever has got to be the actor playing as Dracula in the 1958 film of the same name. Even with many actors helming the fanged creature in the later years, it was Lee who owned the role and first scared audiences off their seats. In fact, his portrayal was deemed so effective that he had gone on to star in six more films as Dracula; "Dracula: Prince of Darkness" (1965), "Dracula Has Risen from the Grave" (1968), "Taste the Blood of Dracula" (1969), "Scars of Dracula" (1970), "Dracula A.D. 1972" (1972) and "The Satanic Rites of Dracula" (1973).
"Star Wars" series (2002 – 2005)
After "The Lord of the Rings" Lee joined another popular franchise, "Star Wars" in the new trilogy that saw him playing the evil Count Dooku in two films, "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) and "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" (2005). Lee's character is a Jedi Master who chose the Dark Side of The Force and how cool is it that at the age of 80, he even managed to do all his lightsaber stunt work himself?
"The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" series (2001 – 2014)
Although Lee really wanted to play the part of Gandalf in Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, he was too old to take on the physical work needed to portray the character well. So he took on the role of Saruman instead which required less horse riding and fighting. He also appeared in Jackson's second trilogy "The Hobbit" playing Saruman once again. Lee was the only actor of the entire franchise who had actually met author J.R.R. Tolkien while he was alive!
Cinema Online, 12 June 2015