Prolific actor Sir Christopher Lee has passed away at the age of 93. Lee is reported to have died on Sunday, June 7 at Chelsea and Westminster hospital in London, after being hospitalized for respiratory problems and heart failure.
Lee’s long and storied career counts more than 280 credits, in both TV and film. His breakout performances were in the iconic Hammer horror films of the late 1950s, where he portrayed Dracula ten times, along with appearances as Frankenstein’s monster and the Mummy. He would later be typecast in the role of the villain, in films as far-ranging as The Three Musketeers (1974), Gremlins II (1990), Steven Spielberg’s 1941 (1979) and the 1974 James Bond classic The Man with the Golden Gun, based on the novel by his distant cousin Ian Fleming. His most notable recent roles were as Count Dooku in the latter two of the most recent Star Wars prequel trilogy, and as the evil Saruman in The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit series.
Prior to his acting career, Lee studied at Wellington College in the UK, and later joined the World War II effort as an intelligence officer with an RAF squadron.
Lee was made a Commander of the British Empire in 2001, knighted by Prince Charles in 2009 and made a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 2011. He recieved a BAFTA fellowship award for lifetime achievement in 2011.
Lee is survived by his wife, Gitte, and their daughter, Christina.