Remembering Christopher Lee Through His Most Memorable Roles
Before he scared all of us as Saruman or Count Dooku, Lee was giving another generation nightmares as the iconic Count Dracula, a role he played in 10 films, until he finally retired the cape and fangs with 1976's Dracula and Son. Lee died on June 7, 2015, at the age of 93, after starring in more than 230 films.
FRANKENSTEIN'S MONSTER AND THE MUMMY
Lee's breakthrough role came in 1957, when he played Frankenstein's Monster in the Hammer Horror film The Curse of Frankenstein. His performance earned him a contract with Hammer, giving him the distinction of playing three of the most iconic horror characters of all time: the Monster, the Mummy and (of course) Dracula.
SARUMAN, LORD OF THE RINGS
In perhaps his most famous modern role of all, Lee played the evil wizard Saruman in both the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit franchises. In addition to terrifying children of all ages, Lee served as a makeup consultant on the films, thanks to his encyclopedic knowledge of the books, which he read religiously every year. As if that weren't cool enough, Lee also corresponded with author J.R.R. Tolkien prior to the author's death in 1973.
COUNT DOOKU, STAR WARS
Arguably the best part of the Star Wars prequels was Lee's performance as Count Dooku, a former Jedi master who fell to the Dark Side (and eventually instigated the infamous Clone Wars).
FRANCISCO SCARAMANGA, THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN
Most actors dream of getting to play an iconic villain at least once in his career – and Lee did it over and over again. In 1974, he gave life to Bond baddie Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun, and to this day, Bond enthusiasts consider him to be one of 007's greatest nemeses of all time.
Never one to shy away from a record, Lee is one of very few actors to have played three different Sherlock Holmes characters: Sir Henry Baskerville, Mycroft Holmes and the great detective himself. Of all of these, he is best remembered for his portrayal of the title character, whom he played on two separate occasions.
ROCHEFORT, THE THREE MUSKETEERS
In his quest to play every single iconic bad guy ever on the big screen, Lee also played Count Rochefort, the eye-patch sporting villain of the Three Musketeers films. His interpretation of the character – whom he played three times – went on to influence other adaptations of the story for decades.