Guest Actor Biography
Page 68 of 127

   

Christopher Lee

Professor Stone, Never, Never Say Die
Colonel Mannering, The Interrogators
Homicide and Old Lace (unbilled)

by Pete Stampede (with David K. Smith)

Born May 27 1922 in London, England, Christopher Lee is, of course, perhaps the last great horror star. Although he has often complained about being pigeonholed as such, with reason considering that his lengthy filmography ranges from mainstream Hollywood product (The Crimson Pirate, Airport 77, The Man with the Golden Gun) to genuine cult items such as The Wicker Man (his own favourite, and featuring Aubrey Morris) and obscure works for such as Spanish sex/horror specialist Jesus Franco. Rather charmingly, Lee and Patrick Macnee are schoolfriends, and played Holmes and Watson in a pair of little-seen early 90's TV movies, under the banner The Golden Years of Sherlock Holmes. They can also be glimpsed as extras in Laurence Olivier's Hamlet, which was also the first film in which Lee and Peter Cushing worked together; for the record, Patrick can be seen, in a false beard, watching the play-within-the-play, and as if that wasn't enough future fantasy/horror stars, Patrick Troughton, the second Doctor Who, was the Player King! Lee also played Mycroft, the slightly smarter brother, in Billy Wilder's The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, which showed some of his overlooked talent for sardonic comedy, also hinted at in "The Interrogators."

His recent roles include Russell Mulcahy's Tale of the Mummy (also with Honor Blackman), the BBC's underrated Gormenghast (2000, written by another of Lee's contemporaries, Mervyn Peake) and Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow (1999). At the end of 2001, he returned to prominence as Saruman in the first of Peter Jackson's blockbusters based on The Lord of the Rings, "The Fellowship of the Ring." With this and its two sequels filmed back-to-back in New Zealand, Lee is guaranteed to be headlining at cinemas for the next two Christmases. Also, he is perhaps the sole actor who actually can actually act in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002). Sadly, his role is a borderline cameo, but he does make the film worth seeing.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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