Legendary English actor Christopher Lee passed away at the age of 93, on June 7, 2015. The world lost a great man, who not only had an acting talent but a long life of stories and adventures. There might be some things that one might not know about the late actor. Here’s five interesting things about this English acting legend.
5. He Spoke Seven Languages:
Lee was fluent in: English, Italian, French, Spanish and German, while being moderately fluent in Greek, Swedish and Russian. These language skills came to great use, especially during his time in World War II. He also did the English and German dubs for the 1982 animated film, The Last Unicorn.
4. His film resume:
At the time of his unfortunate passing, Lee had been in over 200 films in his career. It was his role as Count Dracula in the Hammer Horror films that turned people’s attention towards him. Since then, he has immortalized many film franchises and their characters. Here’s a few films to show the variety of his resume: The Wicker Man (1973), The Lord of the Rings franchise (2001-03), the Star Wars prequel trilogy (2002-03), and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974).
3. He Released Heavy Metal albums:
Lee had an operatic bass voice, but fans of the actor were blown away when he released heavy metal music. The first one, Charlemagne: By the Sword and Cross, was released in 2010. This release gave the actor the title of the oldest person in the genre to release music. It tells the story of the first Roman emperor Charlemagne. He would receive the Spirit of Metal award at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods ceremony later that year. A follow up album, Charlemagne: The Omen of Death was released in 2013.
2. His Service in World War II:
At the age of 17, Lee enlisted to fight in the war. He fought with the Finnish forces during the Winter War of 1939. Later, he received pilot training. After some health problems preventing him from becoming a full-fledged pilot, he began doing intelligence work in Africa and other locations.
Things got intense during his military service. He was nearly killed when his squadron’s airfield was bombed in Tunisia. Later, he tripped over a live bomb while in San Angelo. He endured malaria six times in one year. Towards the end of the war, he was tasked with tracking down Nazi war criminals before retiring in 1946. He retired with the rank of flight lieutenant.
1. Family History and Famous People:
Lee had quite the family history, and he met some interesting people. His father was a military man who fought in two wars. His mother, a Countess, was the source of inspiration for painters and a sculptor. But also:
– He was step-cousin to James Bond author Ian Fleming
– Lee was the only Lord of the Rings cast member to have met J.R.R. Tolkien before his death. Since that meeting, he read the books once a year.
– He met the two men who assassinated the mad priest Rasputin, who Lee would play years later
– He was very close friend with iconic actor Vincent Price
– His great grandmother was opera singer Maria Carandini
Christopher Lee lived a full life, filled with adventure and wonder. Whether we knew him as Dracula or Saruman, he’ll always stay with us. He was a gentle giant who loved people and doing what he did best.