RIP to an acting legend. From hammer house of horror to star wars
Some facts that makes the guy even more of a legend.....Following is copied & pasted from elsewhere
17. Lee could speak fluent French, German and Spanish, and was proficient in Italian, Swedish, Greek, and Russian. His early schooling in Switzerland as a child was the makings of a very well-rounded gentleman.
16. He was a British Spy and Nazi Hunter. In WWII after washing out of the Royal Air Force (medical reasons; optic nerve) he joined RAF Intelligence. He would make tracks all over North Africa and Europe becoming an authority on wherever he was. As part of the Central Registry of War Criminals and Security Suspects he helped hunt down Nazis after the war, “we were given dossiers of what they’d done and told to find them, interrogate them as much as we could and hand them over to the appropriate authority… We saw these concentration camps. Some had been cleaned up. Some had not,” said Lee.
15. While in the service Lee contracted malaria SIX TIMES.
14. Lee was also often attached to missions for the Special Operations Executive, a precursor to the British Special Air Service, “I was attached to the SAS from time to time but we are forbidden – former, present, or future – to discuss any specific operations. Let’s just say I was in Special Forces and leave it at that. People can read in to that what they like,” said Lee. I read into it that Chris Lee probably took out Nazis “Inglorious Basterds” style.
13. After the war Lee became an actor and didn’t get his big break for 10 years. He played mostly bit parts and extras.
12. He was engaged for a time to Henriette von Rosen. Her father, Count Fritz von Rosen wanted assurances that he was the right man. And so the Count hired private detectives to investigate him and demanded references. Lee got one from the King of Sweden (Lee had once met him on a film set). Lee would ultimately break off the engagement because he was concerned about making it as an actor and didn’t want his wife “pitched into the disheveled world of an actor.”
11. His big break came when he got to play Frankenstein’s monster in 1957’s “The Curse of Frakenstein”. He went on from there to don Dracula’s cape many, many times (10, in all). Working with Hammer Film Productions he’d become a legend in the world of horror, essentially giving the modern horror film business its marketability.
10. He once unwittingly took an acting job as a narrator in a soft-core porno. “I had no idea that was what it was when I agreed to the role. I was told it was about the Marquis de Sade. I flew out to Spain for one day’s work playing the part of a narrator. I had to wear a crimson dinner jacket. There were lots of people behind me. They all had their clothes on. There didn’t seem to be anything peculiar or strange.” A friend clued him in so Lee went down to the movie theater (in disguise) to check it out. ” I was furious! There was a huge row. When I had left Spain that day everyone behind me had taken their clothes off!”
9. Lee didn’t play just bad guys and porno narrators, he would play legendary detective Sherlock Holmes a number of times.
8. He is on the album cover for Paul McCartney and Wings’ 1973 album “Band on the Run”
7. Lee could have played Doctor Rumack (ultimately played by Leslie Nielsen) in the 1980 classic “Airplane!” but turned it down. He later said he’d made a “big mistake.”
6. Lee was step-cousin to Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond. Lee would nearly get the job playing Dr. No but due to timing was passed over for the role. He’d later play the titular part in “The Man with the Golden Gun”.
5. Lee was considered for the part of Magneto in the first “X-Men” film but was passed on for Ian McKellen.
4. He would star opposite McKellen in “The Lord of the Rings” as Saruman. Lee was the only member of the production who had known J.R.R. Tolkien personally (they’d met once in a pub). Lee, a big fan of the books (he read them every year), wanted in on the movie, originally pursuing the part of Gandalf. To get in on the action he got a wizard role under his belt on a tv show, “The New Adventures of Robin Hood”. He then sent a picture of himself in wardrobe to Peter Jackson with a note: “This is what I look like as a wizard, don’t forget this when you cast the movie”, it said. McKellen beat him for the part because Lee couldn’t meet all the physical demands (fighting, horseback riding, etc.) of the role. But he still made it into the movie as the bad guy.
3. In the Star Wars prequels Lee did most of the lighstaber fighting himself. He’d learned how to fence in school and had crossed swords with the likes of Gregory Peck and Erroll Flynn in his earlier days (Flynn slipped and cut Lee’s finger during a scene, leaving a nasty scar).
2. Lee is the oldest man to get onto the Billboard Hot 100 chart. At 92, his song “Jingle Hell”, from a heavy metal themed Christmas album (“A Heavy Metal Christmas Too”) reached the #22 spot.
1. Lee was knighted by Prince Charles. Due to his advanced age and inability to kneel, Lee received his knighthood standing up.
So to sum it all up: Dracula, evil wizard, Sith lord, Sherlock Holmes, Nazi Hunter, British Special Forces commando, Bond Villain, heavy metal musician and multilingual badass. R.I.P. Mr. Lee.