21 Things Christopher Lee Did That You Probably Haven't
1. Fought James Bond, Yoda and Gandalf. And nearly beat them.
2. Received a knighthood, a BAFTA fellowship, a BFI fellowship, a Bram Stoker Gold Medal, a Metal Hammer Golden Gods award, an honorary membership of three stunt unions and a lifetime membership of the university College Dublin Law Society, as well as been named a French Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.
3. Been related to James Bond creator Ian Fleming and met Lord of The Rings creator J.R.R. Tolkien.
4. Met Rasputin’s assassins then later gone on to play Rasputin in a film.
5. Witnessed France’s last public execution.
6. Served as an intelligence officer in World War Two, fighting in the Finnish Army, the Home Guard and the RAF. Narrowly escaped a few bombings. Suppressed a mutiny by smooth-talking the mutineers. Been attached to the SAS. Twenty years later, been turned down for a role for not looking military enough.
7. Climbed Mount Vesuvius three days before it erupted. Not long later, tripped over a bomb and been fine. Then lived for another seventy-odd years.
8. Casually decided to become an actor over lunch one day, and gone on to appear in over 275 films.
9. Completely owned the role of Count Dracula to the point that the description of him in the books seems rubbish. Lee played Count Dracula ten times, receiving only a grand the first time.
10. Sneaked Bram Stoker lines into later underwhelming Dracula scripts to bring a bit of class to proceedings.
11. Coincidentally move in next door to Boris Karloff on the world’s scariest road.
12. Turned down the roles of Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars, Professor Loomis in Halloween and King Balor in Hellboy II.
13. Appeared in two Best Picture Academy Awards winners over fifty years apart (1948’s Hamlet and 2003’s The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King), something nobody else has ever done.
14. Felt one film he was making was so rubbish that he refused to speak any lines, hissing instead. Appeared in a porn film without knowing it was a porn film.
15. Judged a Miss World competition in his seventies.
16. Known the names of every British executioner since the 15th century off by heart.
17. Played Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, Thor, Rasputin, the Mummy, Henry Baskerville, Sherlock Holmes, Mycroft Holmes, Fu Manchu, Dr Jekyll, Mr Hyde, the Comte de Rochefort, Death, Saruman, Count Dooku and the Jabberwocky.
18. Been responsible for kick-starting the project that later became The Wicker Man, one of the best British films of all time and one of Lee's greatest performances.
19. Modelled on a Wings album cover.
20. Been in a Police Academy movie – the seventh one, Mission To Moscow.
21. Got into metal in his 80s and released two albums about Charlemagne and four EPs of covers. What a badass.
BONUS: Look at this handsome bastard.
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