Website last updated: 16-6-2017

7 JUNE 2015
DEATH OF ICON CHRISTOPHER LEE (1922-2015)

By: Anders Frejdh
Published:
2015-06-11
FSWL are very saddened to report that legendary British film star (the most prolific actor ever) – and beloved Bond movie alumni – Christopher Lee (born in London 1922) passed away on June 7th, 2015, at age 93. Our thoughts and prayers go to Christopher's family and friends.

About her work on The Man with the Golden Gun, Christopher said:

"Marvellous part, marvellous part. And I had great fun making it.

The interesting thing for me as an actor by this character is that he wasn’t just one hundred percent bad. And just went around like some sort of brute, blowing things up and killing people right and left, which is more or less what he is in the book. But I thought eerily that Scaramanga is the dark side of Bond. Because everybody has a light side and everybody has a dark side. Scaramanga is not just a very dangerous man, lethal and deadly. He’s also very human, certainly his relations in women. And he has a sense of humour. Very definitely it is a fairly destructive sense of humour in many respects. But he does have a sense of humour. And at times he behaves almost like a schoolboy, which is what the director [Guy Hamilton] wanted. He [Guy] said: ‘You’ve got 007 coming to your island. And you are really genuinely thrilled and pleased. Cause you are going to kill him! Therefore you must play everything from the time that he arrives with great pleasure.’

There is a scene of course in the film, which many of you will know, where Scaramanga shows Bond into this massive electronic area, all to do with solar energy and so on. And he [Scaramanga] just talks about it as if he didn’t know anything about it at all. Cause I don’t understands these things at all. You [Bond] will understand them much better than I do. Solar energy, so on and so on. Cause he [Bond] understands everything about it because he has a good brain.

So it was a great part to play. One which I enjoyed very much, particularly as it reunited me with Roger Moore, one of my oldest friends, who still is one of my best friends."

When Sir Roger Moore heard of Christopher's passing, he commented on Twitter:

"It's terribly when you lose an old friend, and Christopher Lee was one of my oldest. We first met in 1948. My thoughts are for Lady Lee, Christina and Juan."

Two-time Swedish Bond girl Maud Adams remembers working with Christopher:

"He was a real gentleman during the filming and extremely professional coupled with a very dry sense of humour. I really didn’t know that much about him other than his Dracula interpretation at first but, I’m so grateful to have met and had the pleasure to have worked with this talented and wonderful man."

Swedish actress Britt Ekland commented, "So sad to say good bye to my old nemesis Christopher Lee. Such a talented man and not just in movies. Love to Brigitte."

Master Toddy, who played a student at Hai Fat's martial arts school in The Man with the Golden Gun, remembers Christopher:

"I am truly sad and sorry to hear this news. I had a wonderful time and learned so much in life with Christopher Lee. He portrays a bad guy in James Bond and horror film, but in real life he is a great gentleman and look after everyone. In some way I somehow learned how to live life laughing, joking, great attitude, great atmosphere with Christopher.

The first time I did "cheers" in my life was with Christopher. He taught me to "cheers" with beer, and the funny thing about that time is that I didn't even know who he was. I saw him play a joke one time with all his staff. He put a melon and waited for people to walk past, while he was upstairs, and dropped the melon close to the people, let them jump and he laughed! During the time I was working with this crew, I saw Christopher nearly every day, he was showing us and teaching us what to do, he had a great touch with all the staff, everybody loved him and we will always love him.

Have a rest in peace, Mr. Lee"

English actress Caroline Munro wrote:

"So very saddened to hear about the passing of my friend Christopher Lee. He truly was The Icon of Horror and just about every other genre out there, he had amazing presence on and off screen and he inhabited every role he played. He certainly made a huge impact on me as a young actress, I found him amazingly inspirational to work with in Dracula A.D. 1972.

He leaves behind him a huge legacy of work in a long and illustrious career, the film world will be a less illuminated place without him although his light will still shine on screen for ever. RIP Christopher."

Obituary: (by FSWL contributor Mark Cerulli)
Although he starred as uber-villain Scaramanga in the 1974 James Bond thriller, The Man with the Golden Gun (and was related to Ian Fleming), Christopher Lee shot to fame in the late 1950s thanks to a series of iconic performances in Hammer horror films.

In rapid succession he portrayed Count Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster and The Mummy, all in blazing color (a major selling point at the time) and all became huge box office hits, making him a bankable actor. Lee would portray Dracula in a number of Hammer films – most notably 1958’s Dracula (U.S. title: Horror of Dracula), followed by 1965’s Dracula: Prince Of Darkness and two excellent sequels – Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968) and Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970). 1971’s Scars of Dracula didn’t get a lot of love from critics, but was a dark and atmospheric entry, giving Lee the most dialogue he’d had as the character.

Vampires aside, Lee had an exceptionally long and varied career in over 200 films and TV appearances, portraying Sherlock Holmes, Henry Baskerville, Fu Manchu, Jinnah (Pakistan’s founder and one of his favorite roles) and many others throughout the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s. His career received a huge bump when he portrayed Count Dooku in two Star Wars features, Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Episode III - Revenge of the Sith; and his appearances as Saruman the White for director Peter Jackson in three Hobbit movies.

Lee’s long resume even boasts a hugely popular comedic turn as the host of Saturday Night Live in 1978.

Much like Britt Ekland (who also played opposite Christopher in 1973's The Wicker Man) says above, Lee was a very talented man who spoke fluent French, German, Italian and Spanish and was moderately proficient in Swedish, Russian and Greek.

Lee was the perfect Dracula, eclipsing even Bela Lugosi who originated the role in 1931; and of course, he was a viciously effective villain against James Bond, who dominated every frame of film he was in. And if film and television weren’t enough, Christopher Lee sang opera and heavy metal music! The man was truly a giant and leaves behind a Death Star-sized void.

Sir Christopher received the BAFTA Academy Fellowship (the highest honour BAFTA can bestow) at the Film Awards in February 2011 and described that it was a very unexpected but very great honour. >Watch the clip

Thanks for the memories, Sir Christopher.

Christopher Lee obituaries in the press:
>BBC News (June 11, 2015)
>The Guardian (June 11, 2015)
>The Independent (June 11, 2015)
>LA Times (June 11, 2015)
>Mirror Online (June 11, 2015)
>NY Times (June 11, 2015)
>The Telegraph (June 11, 2015)
>Variety (June 11, 2015)

Editor's note:
Amongst Christopher's publications are an autobiography Tall, Dark and Gruesome, first published by W.H. Allen in 1977 (and since republished in 1997 and has also been republished in 2003 by Orion Books Ltd as Lord of Misrule, introduced by Peter Jackson) as well as "The Great Villains", "Archives of Evil" and "The Films of Christopher Lee" (Scarecrow Press).

Photo above:
Christopher Lee reunited with Swedish Bond girl Britt Ekland at the 7th Annual Empire Film Awards in London 2002. © UPPA / Starstock. All rights reserved.

For more information about Christopher Lee's amazing acting career, check out his IMDB profile:
www.imdb.com/name/nm0000489/

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#in_memoriam

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