|Born on: 27.05.1922
Died on: 07.06.2015
Christopher Frank Carandini Lee CBE, CStJ (born May 27, 1922) is a two-time Screen Actors Guild Award-nominated, Saturn Award-winning English actor. He initially portrayed villains and became famous for his role as Count Dracula in a string of Hammer Horror films. Other notable roles include Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man, Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun, Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequel trilogy as well as Saruman in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Lee's most important role, according to him, was his portrayal of Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the biopic Jinnah. His most recent film is The Golden Compass, where he plays the Magisterium's First High Counselor. Despite a critically acclaimed career that spans over seven decades, Lee has never been nominated for an Academy Award. At his peak he was 6 ft 5 in (196 cm) making him one of the tallest leading men of all time.
Lee sings on the The Wicker Man soundtrack, performing Paul Giovanni's psych folk composition, "The Tinker of Rye". He also sings the closing credits song of the 1994 horror movie Funny Man. His most notable musical work on film, however, appears in the strange superhero comedy/rock musical The Return of Captain Invincible (1983) which Lee steals with a raucous song and dance number called "Name Your Poison", written by Richard O'Brien.
Lee provided the off-camera voice of "U.N. Owen," the mysterious host who brings disparate characters together in Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians (1965). The film was produced by Harry Alan Towers, for whom Lee had worked repeatedly in the 1960s. Even though he is not credited on the film, the voice is unmistakable.
Lee appears on Peter Knight and Bob Johnson's (of Steeleye Span) 1970s concept album The King of Elfland's Daughter. Lee also provided the voices for the roles of DiZ (Ansem the Wise) in the video game Kingdom Hearts II and of Pastor Galswells in Tim Burton's Corpse Bride.
He contributed his voice, as Death, in the animated versions of Terry Pratchett's Soul Music and Wyrd Sisters and reprised the role in the Sky One live action adaptation The Colour of Magic, taking over the role from the late Ian Richardson.
He is fluent in English, Italian, French, Spanish and German, and moderately proficient in Swedish, Russian and Greek. He was the original voice of Thor in the German dubs in the Danish 1986 animated movie Valhalla, and of King Haggard in the 1982 animated adaptation of The Last Unicorn.
Lee bridged two disparate genres of music by performing a heavy metal variation of the Toreador Song from the opera Carmen with the band Inner Terrestrials. Lee narrated and sang for the Danish musical group The Tolkien Ensemble, taking the role of Treebeard, King Théoden and others in the readings or singing of their respective poems or songs. Lee also appeared as a narrator for Italian symphonic fantasy power metal band Rhapsody of Fire, playing the Wizard King in the latest two albums, Symphony of Enchanted Lands II: The Dark Secret and Triumph or Agony. He narrates several tracks in the two albums, as well as singing a duet with lead vocalist Fabio Lione in the single "The Magic of the Wizard's Dream" from the Symphony of Enchanted Lands II album.
Lee was the voice of Lucan D'Lere in the trailers for Everquest II, also as a Tim Burton regular he is one of the voices for Corpse Bride where he voiced Pastor Galswells.
Some thirty years after playing Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun, Lee provided the voice of Scaramanga in the video game GoldenEye: Rogue Agent.
In 2007, Lee voiced the transcript of The Children of Húrin, by J.R.R. Tolkien for the audiobook version of the novel.
Lee reprised his role of Count Dooku in the animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
In 2001, Lee was appointed Commander of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II. Lee was named 2005's 'most marketable star in the world' in a USA Today newspaper poll, after three of the films he appeared in grossed US$640 million.
Lee is a known cigar aficionado with a love for the Cuban cigar brand Montecristo. He once said "What are these? I do not smoke cigars such as these, I only smoke Montecristo!" as an answer to an offer to smoke a different kind of cigar. His Montecristo of choice is the No 1, a Lonsdale.