Entertainment

Christopher Lee, Lord of the Rings actor, dead at 93

British actor Christopher Lee, perhaps best known for appearing in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and for his role as Dracula for Hammer Films, has died at age 93.

British actor also played Count Dracula several times for Hammer Films

Known most recently for Lord of the Rings films, the British actor was a fixture in Hammer films as Count Dracula then finally reaching acclaim as a Bond villain 3:40
Christopher Lee, the prolific, aristocratic British actor who brought dramatic gravitas to screen villains from Count Dracula to James Bond enemy Scaramanga, has died at age 93.  
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      Lee appeared in more than 250 movies, including memorable roles as the wicked wizard Saruman in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the evil Count Dooku in two of George Lucas' Star Wars prequels. But for many he will forever be known as the vampire Count Dracula in a slew of Hammer Horror movies — the gory, gothic thrillers churned out by the British studio in the 1950s and 1960s that became hugely popular.

      An official for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London on Thursday confirmed a death certificate was issued for Lee on June 8. She spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with the policies of the borough.

      Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was born in London on May 27, 1922. His father was a British army officer who had served in the Boer War, his mother was Contessa Estelle Marie Carandini di Sarzano, an Edwardian beauty of Italian descent. His parents separated when he was young, and his mother later remarried Harcourt Rose, the uncle of James Bond creator Ian Fleming.  
      Actor Christopher Lee died on Sunday in a London hospital where he had been undergoing treatment for respiratory problems, British media reports said. (Tobias Schwarz/Reuters)

      In 1957, Lee launched his horror career, starring as the monster in Hammer's The Curse of Frankenstein. In 1958 Lee made his first appearance as the famous vampire in Dracula, opposite Peter Cushing's Van Helsing.

      He railed against the typecasting, however, and ultimately the sheer number and range of his roles — from Sherlock Holmes to the founder of Pakistan — secured his place in film history.

      "I didn't have dreams of being a romantic leading man," Lee told The Associated Press in 2002. "But I dreamed of being a character actor, which I am."

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