Monday, 28 May 2012

Britain is still a country for and said "Happy Birthday" to an old Prince of Dakness called Christopher Lee

Christopher Lee, film actor, well known for his deep, strong voice and imposing height. was 90 years old yesterday. I remember watching him in those Hammer House of Horror movies when I was a student living in Brighton 40 years ago.



What you possibly didn't know about Chistopher, that he :

* was born in Belgavia, Westminster, the son of a contessa and Edwardian beauty and an Army Lieutenant-Colonel who separated when he was very young and taken by his mother to Switzerland, was educated in 'Miss Fisher's Academy' in Wengen  where he played his first villainous role as Rumpelstiltskin.

* returned to London and his mother married a cousin of Ian Fleming and attended Wellington College, where he won scholarships in classics.

* in 1939, volunteered to fight for the Finnish forces during the Winter War against the Soviet Union, went on to serve in the Royal Air Force, intelligence services and the Special Operations Executive and retired at the end of the War with the rank of flight lieutenant.

* In 1946, signed a seven-year contract with the Rank Otganisation and made his film debut in a gothic romance, 'Corridor of Mirrors' in 1947 and his first film for Hammer, 'The Curse of Fankenstein' ten years later in which he played Frankenstein's monster which in turn led to his first appearance as the Tansylvanian vampire in the 1958 film 'Dracula'.

*  returned to the role of Dracula in Hammer's 'Dracula : Prince of Dasrkness' in 1965 and with no lines, merely hissed his way through the film and saw his subsequent films as the Count give him little to do, but a good income.

* starred in Hammer's 'The Mummy' in 1958 and played Rasputin in 'Rasputin, the Mad Monk'. and had apparently met Rasputin's assassin, Yussupov, when he was a child and played Holmes in 1962's 'Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace'.

*  was responsible for bringing acclaimed occult author Dennis Wheatley to Hammer and starred in 'The Devil Rides Out' in 1967
and played Lord Summerisle in the cult classic, 'The Wicker Man' in 1973, which he  believes to be his best film and to which he gave his services for free, as the budget was so small.

* since the mid 1970s has eschewed horror roles almost entirely and in 1974 played the James Bond villain, Scaramanga in 'The Man with the Golden Gun' in 1974.
and in 1998, starred in the title role of 'Jinnah', the founder of modern Pakistan, which he declared to be, by far, his best performance.
* played Saruman in the 'The Lord of The Rings' trilogy
and has performed roles in 275 films since 1946 making him the Guinness World Record holder for 'most film acting roles ever'.

The estwhile 'Prince of Darkness' was knighted at the age of 87 by an old Prince for 'services to drama and charity'.




knighted in 2009He was knighted for services to drama and charity in 2009, and received the BAFTA Fellowship in 2011.[7][8]

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