We were extremely sad to hear that horror icon Christopher Lee passed away on Sunday after suffering heart and respiratory problems. Born in 1922, Sir Christopher traced his lineage to Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor. He began his acting career at the Rank Organisation in 1947, and in the 50s moved into arguably his best known roles – those in the Hammer Horror films.
Lee’s first film for Hammer was The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), in which he played Frankenstein’s monster, with Peter Cushing as Baron Victor Frankenstein. His horror career saw him play Count Dracula on nine occasions, and take up other horror roles in Rasputin, the Mad Monk and The Mummy. Lee was a step-cousin of Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond spy novels. He is survived by his wife, Birgit Krøncke Lee, and had been married for over fifty years.
His personal favourite horror role was in The Wickerman, although he objected to the cuts it received for cinema release. His horror roles also included more comedic characters, such as Doctor Catheter in Gremlins 2.
He was knighted in 2009 for services to drama and charity and was awarded the Bafta fellowship in 2011. He also marked his 92nd birthday by releasing an album of heavy metal cover versions.
Tributes to the actors came from all over the world. Actor Mark Gatiss, who produced a series of horror documentaries for the BBC, posted a portrait of the actor whom he described as a “titan of cinema”. Tim Burton, who worked with Lee on a number of films, posted a tribute to him; “Christopher has been an enormous inspiration to me my entire life. I had the honour and pleasure to work with him on five films (Sleepy Hollow, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, Alice In Wonderland and Dark Shadows). He was the last of his kind – a true legend – who I’m fortunate to have called a friend. He will continue to inspire me and I’m sure countless others for generations to come.”
Tributes to Lee also came from outwith the film industry, including the UK Prime Minister and Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London who described him as “one of the greatest British actors and a master of the macabre”
R.I.P Sir Christopher Lee – you leave behind an amazing horror legacy.