Christopher Lee passed away on Sunday, June 7. Since his passing, Lee has continued to receive accolades from far across the world even six days after his death.
According to the BBC, Lee’s old friend, Sir Roger Moore, posted a message on his Twitter page.
“It’s terrible when you lose an old friend, and Christopher Lee was one of my oldest. We first met in 1948.”
George Lucas called Lee “a great British actor of the old school. A true link to cinema’s past and a real gentleman.”
Director Peter Jackson, who directed Lee in one of his final roles as the evil Saruman in the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, wrote a lenghty tribute to the late actor, calling Lee a “scholar, a singer, an extraordinary raconteur and of course, a marvelous actor.”
“I was lucky enough to work with Chris on five films all told and it never ceased to be a thrill to see him on set. I remember him saying on my 40th Birthday (he was 80 at the time), “You’re half the man I am.
“Being half the man Christopher Lee is, is more than I could ever hope for. He was a true gentleman, in an era that no longer values gentleman.”
According to the New Yorker, Lee was born on May 27, 1922, which is the same year the film Nosferatu debuted. Lee would play Count Dracula, who the lead character in Nosferatu, Count Orlok, was based on, numerous times. Unfortunately for Lee, he was typecast in horror roles, and had a hard time breaking that mold, until he was cast to play Victor Scaramanga in the James Bond classic The Man With The Golden Gun. Lee had first been considered for the first villain’s role in Dr. No, but Joseph Whitman had already been cast.
Lee, now out of his typecasting shell, went on to do many diverse roles, from Saruman, to Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, to lending his voice on the song “Little Drummer Boy” on the Heavy Metal Christmas album. His tall, 6-foot, 5-inch frame and low, growling voice lent himself to the bad boy roles he was so very good at.
Lee passed away at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London after being checked in due to respiratory and heart issues. In 2009, Lee was awarded a knighthood for his contributions to drama and his charity work. In 2001, Lee received a BAFTA fellowship.
Perhaps no more fitting tribute was given Lee than that of Tim Burton, who worked with Lee on five films, including Sleepy Hollow, released in 1999, and Charlie and the Chocolate Family, released in 2005.
“He was the last of his kind — a true legend — who I’m fortunate to have called a friend. He will continue to inspire me, and I’m sure countless others, for generations to come.”
[Image courtesy of Know It All Joe]