Christopher Lee

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Christopher Lee

Born

5/27/1922, Belgravia, London, England, UK

Birth Name

Christopher Frank Carandini Lee

Gender

Male
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9.8
out of 10
User Rating
68 votes

Biography

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Christopher Lee has defined the macabre for generations of horror film enthusiasts. His long film career began in 1947. In 1957, Lee appeared in his first Hammer Film Production, The Curse of Frankenstein, opposite Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars: A New Hope). With the success…more

Credits

Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Christopher's hobbies are travel, opera and golf.

    • Christopher consider the role of Jinnah the most important part that he's ever played as an actor.

    • Christopher never spoke a word in the second Dracula movie.

    • Christopher was completely blind when he wore the red contacts for the role of Dracula.

    • Christopher joined the Rank Organisation in 1947.

    • Christopher spent five years working for the RAF and British Intelligence during WWII. He reached the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

    • Christopher is the only actor made a member of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, the oldest golf club in the world founded in 1744.

    • Christopher's autobiography (Tall Dark and Gruesome) was revised and expanded in 2004 was re-issued as Lord of Misrule.

    • Christopher wrote Tall, Dark and Gruesome (his autobiography) in 1977 and it was re-released in 1999.

    • Christopher wrote 'Christopher Lee's Archives of Terror' Volume I in 1975 & Volume 2 in 1976.

    • Christopher wrote 'Christopher Lee's New Chamber of Horrors' in 1974.

    • Christopher wrote 'Christopher Lee's Treasury of Terror'in 1966.

    • Christopher provided the voice of Scaramanga in the video game GoldenEye: Rogue Agent.

    • Christopher was offered the role of the title character in the first official Bond film Dr. No by writer Ian Fleming.

    • Christopher is a direct lineal descendent of Charlemagne through his mother's side.

    • Christopher was named 2005's 'most marketable star in the world' in a USA Today newspaper poll, after three of the films he appeared in grossed $640m.

    • Christopher was the Center of the Hollywood Universe, according to data at the Movie Oracle, http://www.cs.virginia.edu/oracle/center.html, but is now second to Rod Steiger.

    • Christopher was awarded the Stuntmen's Union's belt buckle for doing his own stunts.

    • Christopher did his own stunts for his role in Airport'77 including his "dead scene".

    • Christopher's role of the monster in the Hammer film, The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) was his breakthrough role.

    • Christopher was at first discriminated against as he was taller than the leading male actors of his time and was foreign-looking.

    • Christopher has worked with Tim Burton on three films Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Corpse Bride.

    • Christopher did impersonations of "Daffy Duck" and "Elmer Fudd" when he guest hosted Caroline's Comedy Hour on the A&E Network in 1991.

    • Christopher has three roles in common with Boris Karloff. They have both played "Fu Manchu," "The Mummy" and "Frankenstein's Monster."

    • Both Christopher and his fellow Star Wars Sith Lord, David Prowse, have played "Frankenstein's Monster" opposite Peter Cushing.

    • Christopher sustained an injury to his hand while filming a swordfight with a slightly drunk Errol Flynn for The Dark Avenger (1955).

    • Christopher was voted no. 31 on the recent British televised poll "The Greatest Movie Stars Of All Time" above the likes of John Wayne, Michael Caine and Humphrey Bogart.

    • Christopher is an honorary member of three stuntmen's unions.

    • Christopher appeared in the play The Constant Nymph in 1948 in Worthing, England, UK.

    • Christopher appeared in the play As You Like It in 1948 in Worthing, England, UK.

    • Christopher appeared in the play Libel in 1948 in Worthing, England, UK.

    • Christopher appeared in the play See Naples and Die in 1948 in Worthing, England, UK.

    • Christopher appeared in the play By Candlelight in 1948 in Worthing, England, UK.

    • Christopher appeared in the play Man and Superman as the Devil in 1948 in Worthing, England, UK.

    • Christopher appeared in the play Major Barbara in 1948 in Worthing, England, UK.

    • Christopher appeared in the play Othello in 1948 in Worthing, England, UK.

    • Christopher appeared in the play The Wishing Well in 1948 in Worthing, England, UK.

    • Christopher appeared in the play The Flat Next Door in 1949 in London, England, UK.

    • Christopher recorded a double cassette reading of four tales by Edgar Allan Poe.

    • Christopher did the voice over for the TV commercial for Save The Children in 2002.

    • In 2003, Christopher won the Living Treasure Award at the Seattle Film Critics Awards.

    • In 2002, Christopher & co. were nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture
      for: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).

    • In 2003, Christopher & co. were nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture
      for: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002).

    • In 2002, Christopher & co. won the PFCS Award for Best Acting Ensemble
      for: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).

    • In 2003, Christopher & co. won the PFCS Award for Best Acting Ensemble
      for: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002).

    • In 2003, Christopher & co. won the OFCS Award for Best Ensemble
      for: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002).

    • In 2002, Christopher was nominated for the MTV Movie Award for Best Villain
      for: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).

    • In 2002, Christopher was nominated for the MTV Movie Award for Best Fight
      for: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001). He shared the nomination with Ian McKellen.

    • In 2003, Christopher won the MTV Movie Award for Best Fight for: Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002).

    • In 1994, Christopher received the Dilys Powell Award at the London Critics Circle Film Awards.

    • In 1984, Christopher won the International Fantasy Film Award for Best Actor for his contributions to the fantastc film genre at the Fantasporto.

    • In 1993, Christopher received a Career Award at the Fantafestival.

    • In 2002, Christopher won a Special Award for lifetime achievement. from the Evening Standard British Film Awards.

    • In 2002, Christopher received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Empire Awards, UK.

    • In 2003, Christopher & co. was nominated for the DVDX Award for Best Audio Commentary (New for DVD)
      for: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002).

    • In 1983, Christopher won the Caixa de Catalunya for Best Actor for: House of the Long Shadows (1983). He shared the award with Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, and John Carradine.

    • In 1979, Christopher received a Life Career Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA.

    • In 1979, Christopher was nominated for the Saturn Award for Best Actor for: The Wicker Man (1973). In 1980, Christopher was nominated for the Saturn Award for Best Actor for: Arabian Adventure (1979).

    • Christopher's mother, Contessa Estelle Marie Carandini di Sarzano, was a noted Edwardian beauty and was painted by John Lavery, Oswald Birley and Olive Snell and sculpted by Clare Sheridan, a cousin of Winston Churchill.

    • Christopher's father was a Colonel in the 60th King's Royal Rifle Corps (originally the Royal Americans) and was decorated for gallantry in the Boer War and First World War.

    • Christopher and Vincent Price were born on the same day (27th May), and Peter Cushing was born on the 26th.

    • Christopher was one of the judges for the 1995 Miss World beauty pageant.

    • Christopher made his stage debut in school as the demonic lead in Rumpelstiltskin.

    • Christopher struggled to get work early in his career as a supporting actor because almost all the male stars were shorter than he.

    • As Darth Tyranus, Christopher plays the first Sith apprentice to act in both body and voice.

    • Christopher made "Officier des arts et lettres" by French culture minister JJ Aillagon on December 11th 2002.

    • One of Christopher's favorite bands is the Italian symphonic metal band Rhapsody, and he have also appeared on one of their album (listen to the speech in the intro on the song "Unholy Warcry" on the album The Dark Secret). Lee also appears on the Rhapsody single, "The Magic Of The Wizard's Dream," where Lee does a duet with Rhapsody vocalist, Fabio Lione, in English, German, Italian, and French versions of the song.

    • On July 21st 2004 Christopher was given the honorary citizenship of the Italian city of Casina (Province of Reggio Emilia) where Sarzano, the castle of his ancestors is situated. He gave his speech of thanks in Italian.

    • In a unique bonding of two generations of Frankenstein's monsters, Christopher and his wife were good friends with Boris Karloff and his wife. This friendship wasn't as a result of them working together. (They had made only two films together, Corridors of Blood (1962) and Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968) but by the coincidence that they lived next door to each other in England.

    • Christopher has one child, a daughter named Christina.

    • Christopher founded Charlemagne Productions Ltd. in 1972.

    • Christopher's daughter, Christina, was born with her legs severely deformed. They were bent at such a severe angle that they were almost backwards. She spent her first 2 years in splints. She eventually learned how to walk after the age of three and no longer needed splints.

    • Christopher speaks French, Italian, Spanish and German and can "get along" in Swedish, Russian and Greek.

    • When Christopher arrived in the recording studio to do the voice over for King Haggard in the original animated version of The Last Unicorn (1982) he came armed with his own copy of the book with certain excerpts marked pertaining to parts of the book that he felt should not have been omitted.

    • Christopher volunteered to fight for the Finnish forces during the Winter War against the Soviet Union in 1939.

    • Christopher wanted to attend the Heavy Metal Festival Earthshaker Fest in 2005 to support his favorite bands Rhapsody and Manowar, but had to cancel at the last moment because of an important filming appointment. He recorded a message to the fans in advance, which was shown right before Rhapsody appeared onstage.

    • According to Christopher's friend Norman Lloyd, he has a somewhat eccentric hobby: he is fascinated by public executioners and knows the names of every official executioner England has had since the middle of the 15th century.

    • In Christopher's role as the title character, The Mummy (1959) , in which he co-starred with Peter Cushing , Lee got severely injured in the course of the filming. All that smashing through real glass windows and doors had dislocated his shoulder and had pulled his neck muscles, especially when he had to carry an actress with arms fully extended across a swamp, walking as much as 87 yards, which damaged his shoulders considerably.

    • In Dracula (1958) , Christopher in the title role had to drop a woman into a coffin. But when he carried her, she was unexpectedly heavy and in trying to drop her into the coffin, Lee also fell into the coffin along with her.

    • When filming his death scene in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) , in which Christopher is stabbed in the back, he gave Peter Jackson a long description of what actually happens when one is stabbed in that manner. Jackson elected not to ask where he had gotten the information.

    • Christopher has starred in three different movies/TV shows in which he had either known or met the (late) author of the original work: Gormenghast (Mervyn Peake), Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien) and The Man With The Golden Gun (Ian Fleming, his step-cousin).

    • Christopher shot all his scenes for Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) in one day.Re

    • Christopher was paid $1,360 to play the leading role in Dracula (1958).

    • Christopher has only been married once. He married Gitte Lee in March, 1961, and they are still together today.

    • Christopher was dear friends with fellow Hammer Horror actor, Peter Cushing.

    • Christopher was close friends with Lord of the Rings writer J.R.R. Tolkien.

    • Christopher is 6' 5" (1.96 m) tall.

    • Christopher Lee was one of the first 100 to be honoured with his name set into the pavement in London's 'Avenue of the Stars' in Convent Garden.

    • It is rumoured that Christopher is related to General Robert E.Lee.

    • At 6 feet 5 inches, Christopher was entered into The Guinness Book of World Records as "The Tallest Leading Actor."

    • Christopher's stepfather (his mother's second husband) was the maternal uncle of writer Ian Fleming (of James Bond fame). Lee and Ian Fleming are therefore step-cousins.

    • Christopher is a Commander of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

    • Christopher is from an acting dynasty, his great-grandparents founded the first Australian opera company.

    • Christopher is of royal Italian ancestry on his mother's side (Carandini).

    • The white coffin used in one of Christopher's Dracula films was later used in Bananarama's pop video Venus.

    • Christopher served in British Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve from 1941 to 1946.

    • Christopher appears on the album cover Band on the Run, performed by Paul McCartney's band Wings .

    • Christopher is the uncle of Harriet Walter.

    • Christopher is a classically trained singer.

    • Christopher is the only member of the cast and crew of The Lord Of The Rings films to have actually met J.R.R. Tolkien.

    • Christopher did all his own stunt work and lightsabre fighting in Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones, which is very impressive, considering he was eighty years old at the time of the shooting!

    • Christopher was made a Commander Of The Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in her birthday honours list.

    • Christopher reads the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy every year. As a result, he was the only cast member of the LOTR movies who did not have to be told what his character was like by Peter Jackson. He already knew his character of Saruman inside and out.

    • Christopher holds record in the Guinness World Record Book for starring in the most movies ever to date.

    • Christopher turned down the role Donald Pleasence took on the film Halloween (1978) and the Hal Holbrook role in The Fog (1980).

  • Quotes

    • Christopher Lee: I stopped appearing as Dracula in 1972 because in my opinion the presentation of the character had deteriorated to such an extent, particularly bringing him into the contemporary day and age, that it really no longer had any meaning.

    • Christopher Lee: Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff didn't like the word "horror". They, like I, went for the French description: "the theatre of the fantastique."

    • Christopher Lee: There are many vampires in the world today - you only have to think of the film business.

    • Christopher Lee: In Britain, any degree of success is met with envy and resentment.

    • Christopher Lee: (On his friendship with Peter Cushing) I don't want to sound gloomy, but, at some point of your lives, every one of you will notice that you have in your life one person, one friend whom you love and care for very much. That person is so close to you that you are able to share some things only with him. For example, you can call that friend, and from the very first maniacal laugh or some other joke you will know who is at the other end of that line. We used to do that with him so often. And then when that person is gone, there will be nothing like that in your life ever again.

    • Christopher Lee: Some of the films I've been in I regret making. I got conned into making these pictures in almost every case by people who lied to me. Some years ago I got a call from my producers saying that they were sending me a script and that five very distinguished American actors were also going to be in the film. Actors like José Ferrer, Dean Jagger and John Carradine. So I thought, "Well, that's alright by me". But it turned out it was a complete lie. Appropriately, the film was called End of the World (1977).

    • Christopher Lee: I've seen many men die right in front of me - so many in fact that I've become almost hardened to it. Having seen the worst that human beings can do to each other, the results of torture, mutilation and seeing someone blown to pieces by a bomb, you develop a kind of shell. But you had to. You had to. Otherwise we would never have won.

    • Christopher Lee: When you're involved in a war it's the old saying 'if your name's written on the bullet, there's nothing you can do about it'. So you just banished it from your mind. Of course I was scared on some occasions and anyone who says they aren't scared during an operation probably isn't telling the truth. I know about six people who had no fear. Literally none. Whether that was due to a lack of imagination or because they'd conquered it, I don't know. In fact one was Iain Duncan Smith's father, who was one of my closest friends. But during a war, people are taught to kill and they have the blessings of the authorities to do so, so if it's your life or somebody else's, you want to be quite sure it's not yours.

    • Christopher Lee: 'One should try anything he can in his career, except folkdance and incest.

    • Christopher Lee: Peter Cushing and I have made so many horror films that people think we live in a cave together.

    • Christopher Lee: (On doing Military Intelligence in WW2) When people say to me, you know, were you in this? Were you in that? Did you work in this? Did you work in that? I always used to say 'Can you keep a secret?' And they would say 'Yes, yes' and I would say "So can I."

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Sir Christopher Lee is without doubt one of the greatest actors ever to grace the screen

    10
    There really isn't much to say about Sir C. Lee besides the fact that he is simply a LEGEND! This great man has been in well over 250 film roles and even at the current age of 90, when his health conditions are low, he still acts. This is the true spirit of any great actor; The Last of the Hammer Legends!



    Sir C. Lee deserves Oscar after Oscar piled up beside his name, or else Oscars won't mean a GODDAMN thing ;(



    Want to see his brief performances in the Hobbit!moreless
  • Legendary British actor who has played in almost 230 films in 60 years. Most famous for portraying the vampiric Count Dracula.

    10
    (Sir)Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was born in Belgravia, London, in 1922. After a military career in the RAF during WWII, he was at a loss as to what to do. An Italian relative suggested he take up acting, and so he did.



    Success was not instantaneous though, being 6'5'' and decidedly not Celtic looking did not play to his advantage, and so he struggled doing theater and minor films for many years.



    His breakthrough came with Hammer Horror, playing Frankenstein's monster in "The Curse of Frankenstein"(1957), "Dracula"(1958), "The Mummy"(1958) and "The Hound of the Baskervilles"(1959). Several sequels to Dracula was made, starring Lee, and worldwide fame was attained. He most commonly plays the part of the villain, due to his naturally imposing presence and deep barytone voice.



    Christopher Lee has a prolific career, especially in the horror genre, but has displayed his versatility in science fiction, drama, action adventure and fantasy. Many younger people know him best from "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and the "Star Wars" franchise.





    For fans of Lee I highly recommend his autobiography "Lord of Misrule", it is a wonderful recollection of both the career and the remarkable life he has had.moreless
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