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Sir Christopher Lee (1922 – 2015)

Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was born in London on 27 May 1922. In 1941, during World War II he enlisted in the Royal Air Force. He then trained as an actor staring in bit part roles for numerous productions including Corridor of Mirror (1948)

By 1957, he was signed to the company Hammer Films who were remaking horror classics. It was his work with Peter Cushing on Dracula (1958), where he really struck gold; bringing a new dimension to the famous character and securing one of his most popular roles to date.

His later work included Nothing But The Night (1973), The Three Musketeers (1973) and To the Devil a Daughter (1976). However it was his turn as the evil wizard Saruman in the film of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003) that garnered a huge following and he continued to revisit his role for The Hobbit series (2012-2014). It turned out that Lee was the only cast member to have ever met Tolkien.

Interestingly, in an interview in 2004, he cited a little known art-house film, Jinnah (1998) as his most important work. Lee received a Knighthood from the Queen in 2009 and became a Bafta Fellow in 2011. Sir Christopher Leedied on 7 June 2015 aged 93.