May. 27th, 1922
Belgravia, London, England, UK
Guest TV Roles[none found]
The British actor Christopher Lee was born in 1922 in London, England, where he and his older sister Xandra were raised by Estelle Marie and Geoffrey Trollope, a professional soldier, until their divorce in 1926. Later, while Lee was still a child, his mother married (and later divorced) Harcourt George St.-Croix (nicknamed Ingle), who was a banker. After attending Wellington College from age 14 to 17, Lee worked as an office clerk in a couple of London shipping companies until 1941 when he enlisted in the RAF during World War II. Following his release from military service, Lee joined the Rank Organisation in 1947, training as an actor in their "Charm School" and playing a number of bit parts in such films as Corridor of Mirrors (1948). He made a brief appearance in Laurence Olivier's Hamlet (1948), in which his future partner-in-horror Peter Cushing also appeared. Both actors also appeared later in Moulin Rouge (1952) but did not meet until their horror films together.
Lee had numerous parts in film and television throughout the 1950s but didn't achieve stardom until his association with Hammer Film Productions, which started with The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Dracula (1958), The Mummy (1959), and The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), all co-starring Peter Cushing. Lee continued his role as "Dracula" in a number of Hammer sequels throughout the 1960s and into the early 1970s. During this time, he made numerous appearances as Fu Manchu, most notably in the first of the series The Face of Fu Manchu (1965), and also appeared in a number of films in Europe. With his own production company, Charlemagne Productions, Ltd., Lee made Nothing But the Night (1973) and To the Devil a Daughter (1976). By the mid-1970s, Lee was tiring of his horror image and tried to widen his appeal by participating in several mainstream films, such as The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), The Three Musketeers (1973), The Four Musketeers (1974), and the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun (1974).
The success of these films prompted him in the late 1970s to move to Hollywood, where he remained a busy actor but made mostly unremarkable film and television appearances, and eventually moved back to England. Lee's career was revitalized in the early 2000s by his appearances in two blockbuster film franchises: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) (as Saruman the White) and Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) (as Count Dooku). In 2001, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his contributions to the film and television industries.
- Released the music album "Christopher Lee: Revelation" in the UK in October 2006. It includes songs like The Toreador March, O Sole Mio, Oh What a Beautiful Mornin' & My Way.
- Possibly the only actor who has portrayed three different Sherlock Holmes characters: Sherlock Holmes, Mycroft Holmes and Henry Baskerville.
- One of his favorite bands is the Italian symphonic power metal band Rhapsody, and he has also appeared on one of their album (listen to the speech in the intro on the song "Unholy Warcry" on the album "The dark secret"). Lee also appears on the Rhapsody single "The Magic Of The Wizard's Dream", where he does a duet with Rhapsody vocalist Fabio Leoni in English, German, Italian and French versions of the song.
- He studied at Summerfield Preparatory School and attended Wellington College.
- Was upset about the deletion of his death scene in the theatrical version of _The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)_ (qv). However, the scene was put back into the Extended Edition which is seen as the definitive version.
- In his role as the title character, _The Mummy (1959)_ (qv), in which he co-starred with 'Peter Cushing' (qv), Lee got severely injured in the course of the filming. All that smashing through real glass windows and doors had dislocated his shoulder and pulled his neck muscles, especially when he had to carry an actress with arms fully extended across a swamp, walking as much as 87 yards, which damaged his shoulders considerably.
- Has played a staggering amount of Victorian characters. He played Count Dracula ten times, Dr. Fu Manchu five times, Sherlock Holmes three times, Mycroft Holmes (Sherlock's brother) once and Sir Henry Baskerville (a friend of Holmes) once. He also appeared in _The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960)_ (qv) and _I, Monster (1971)_ (qv), adaptations of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", among others.
- A stunt double performed the stunts and lightsaber fights in _Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)_ (qv). Lee's face was imposed on the double's body. Lee mentioned that in the last 40 years he has done more sword fights than any other actor, but "not any more."