5/27/22 to 6/7/15
Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was an English actor. Lee worked as an office clerk until 1941 when he enlisted in the Royal Air Force during WWII. He was attached to the Special Operation Executive and the Long Range Desert Group (a precursor to the SAS). When asked about his time with the SAS he would say; “I was attached to the SAS from time to time but we are forbidden – former, present, or future – to discuss any specific operations. Let's just say I was in Special Forces and leave it at that. People can read in to that what they like.” He married Birgit Kroncke in 1961. They had one child. He was knighted by Prince Charles in 2009 as part of the Queen’s birthday honours. Lee did not start acting until he was 25.
Due to his height (6’5”) and being “foreign-looking” he struggled to get parts. Lee had small parts in movies until the Hammer film “The Curse of Frankenstein” 1957. Hammer latched on to him. His association with Hammer also brought him in contact with Peter Cushing. They were in 23 movies together and became good friends. Lee played Dracula 9 times, 7 of them for Hammer. Some of his most known movies are “Horror of Dracula” 1958, “The Mummy” 1959, “The Hound of the Baskervilles” 1959, “The Hands of Orlac” 1960, “The Gorgon” 1964, and five “Fu Manchu” movies.
Lee appeared as the on-screen narrator in Jess Franco's “Eugenie” 1970 as a favor to producer Harry Alan Towers. He was unaware that it was soft-core porn. The sex scenes were shot separately.
His more recent credits include both “Star Wars: Episode II-Attack of the Clones" 2002 (Count Dooku), “Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge of the Sith” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy (Saruman).
He has played three different Sherlock Holmes characters, Mycroft once, Henry Baskerville once, and Sherlock Holmes three times. He was a classically trained singer. His birthday, 5/27, is the same as Vincent Price’s and the day after Peter Cushing’s. He is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “tallest leading actor” and has acted in well over 200 films. He had his own production company, Charlemagne Productions Ltd.
Lee died at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital on 7 June 2015 at 8:30 am after being admitted for respiratory problems and heart failure, shortly after celebrating his 93rd birthday.
SNL hosted by Sir Lee