Christopher Lee Dead at 93

Iconic film villain hospitalized for respiratory, heart troubles
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Suggested by TopstepTrader1
Posted Jun 11, 2015 7:17 AM CDT
Christopher Lee Dead at 93
British actor Sir Christopher Lee poses with the Excellence Award during the photo call at the 66th Locarno International Film Festival, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, in Locarno, Switzerland.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Urs Flueeler)

RIP, Saruman. Sir Christopher Lee, the English actor who played the Lord of the Rings villain as well as other iconic roles, died Sunday at age 93. Lee had been hospitalized in London for respiratory problems and heart failure, and his wife of more than 50 years waited a few days to release the news so family could be told first, the Guardian reports. Lee started working in film in 1947, and in the 1950s he started working in Hammer Horror films and gained notoriety. Most famously, he played Dracula—and though he was well-known for the role, he once complained in 2005, "They gave me nothing to do! I pleaded with Hammer to let me use some of the lines that Bram Stoker had written. Occasionally, I sneaked one in. Eventually I told them that I wasn’t going to play Dracula anymore. All hell broke loose.”

The film he thought was his best was The Wicker Man, another horror movie from the 1970s. In addition to the aforementioned fantasy villain in Peter Jackson's LOTR trilogy, he also went on to star as a Bond villain (Francisco Scaramanga in The Man With the Golden Gun) and a Star Wars baddie (Count Dooku in Episode II: Attack of the Clones), the Telegraph reports. "His characters have often exuded—not immortality, exactly, but a kind of ennobled deathlessness," writes the paper's film critic in a tribute. "You always sensed they’d been around for longer than was perhaps entirely natural, and would more than likely outlast you." In addition to many other film roles, Lee was also into heavy metal, releasing a series of albums over the years. He will be in the not-yet-released fantasy movie Angels in Notting Hill. (More Christopher Lee stories.)

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