back to article In memoriam: Christopher Lee, Hammer's Count Dracula

Christopher Lee, the iconic British actor best known for his portrayal of Count Dracula in a series of films from Hammer Studios and for roles in the recent Lord of the Rings and Star Wars film trilogies, has died at age 93. The deep-voiced Lee made his film debut in Corridor of Mirrors in 1948 for future James Bond director …

  1. Anonymous Coward

    My Mom is an avid fan of horror and Chris Lee was her favorite vampire. [She avidly collects anything with vampires about it. Huge!] My favorite appearance was when he hosted Saturday Night Live with Meatloaf as the music. His introduction was priceless. "And now ... Meat ... Loaf. Meat Loaf. Meatloaf"

    He always cited the costs of educating his daughter as the reason for acting in everything imaginable and quite a few that weren't. Many martial arts films and extremely memorable as Dr. Fu Man Chu. I will certainly miss him. At least he did leave a legacy to us all. Raise a pint for 'im.

    [F---ing rare for me to get emotional about anything.]

  2. hplasm

    R.I.P Prince of Darkness

    And all your other excellent characters. We shall miss you.

    (Insert garlic coment here after respectful pause)

  3. Youngone Silver badge

    Fightin' Man

    He seems to have been a tough bugger during WWII. RAF Intelligence, attached to LRDG and SOE, of which he never spoke.

    Probably saw and did things that were difficult to deal with.

    1. Graham Marsden

      Re: Fightin' Man

      > Probably saw and did things that were difficult to deal with.

      Apparently Peter Jackson once said to him something on the lines of "Imagine what it sounds like when a man's been stabbed in the back" and Lee replied "I don't have to imagine it."

    2. Jedit Silver badge

      "Probably saw and did things that were difficult to deal with."

      Though he did famously tell Peter Jackson on the set of Lord of the Rings that "that's not how you stab someone".

      One interesting fact is that Lee worked with Ian Fleming in the SOE. It's believed in some parts that Lee was part of the inspiration for James Bond: a man capable both of performing commando raids and moving in the upper echelons of society without looking out of place.

      Sir Christopher Lee. Movie star, stabber of Nazis and heavy metal god. Ave atque vale.

    3. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Fightin' Man

      Someone who was interviewing him kept pressing him for details of what he got up to in the sneakier elements of the armed forces. Lee leaned forward and whispered "Can you keep a secret?"

      "Yes", the interviewer replied excitedly

      "So can I", came Lee's crashing response

  4. ashdav

    RIP Mr Lee

    Although he did resent being constantly referred to as The Prince Of Darkness/Dracula he was a very good actor. I for one shall miss him.

    Check out The Wicker Man 1973

    RIP Mr Lee.

    1. Lars Silver badge

      Re: RIP Mr Lee

      Remembered in Finnland too, earlier to day, as he took part in the "winter war" defending Finnland against Russia for a short while. Claimed Finnland was the worlds best country, knew the Kalevala and some Finnish if not as well as Mr Tolkien.

    2. AbelSoul

      Re: Check out The Wicker Man

      Indeed. he'll always be Lord Summerisle to me.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shocks are so much better absorbed with the knees bent.

    One of the vanishingly small numbers of people who could regularly upstage the characters they were playing. A unique talent that'll be sorely missed - rest in peace Lord Summerisle.

  6. Kharkov

    Dracula is dead at last... and I'm sad.

    Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing of course, were the first stars I saw when I started watching pitched-at-adults movies in the late 70's & early 80's and they made an indelible impression.

    Farewell, Sir Lee, you made an iconic Dracula, you were the quintessential Bond Villain(TM), the standard for lethally menacing Sith Lords, and I don't think ANYONE could have given Saruman the brooding darkness you brought out of the character.

    We shall not see your like again...

    1. VinceH

      Re: Dracula is dead at last... and I'm sad.

      "Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing of course, were the first stars I saw when I started watching pitched-at-adults movies in the late 70's & early 80's and they made an indelible impression."

      The Friday late night horror double bill on BBC2 (?) I'll wager - in which case, ditto. I cut my horror teeth on stuff like that, before moving on to quite a lot of the so-called video nasties that were subsequently banned. I reckon Christopher Lee is among the first actors I actually took note of, so to speak. RIP.

      Although he passed away yesterday, it's Friday today, so it seems fitting to watch a horror double bill tonight with a couple of his films - the Hammer Collection box set on my shelf will finally be broken open.

      1. VinceH

        Re: Dracula is dead at last... and I'm sad.

        "Although he passed away yesterday"

        This article was the first I'd heard about his death, and I somehow read the reference to Sunday as yesterday (my mistake was pointed out to me elsewhere).

        Still, this being a Friday night, a horror double bill still seems appropriate. My choices in the end were Dracula, Prince of Darkness and Scars of Dracula.

  7. beep54


    For me Christopher Lee's best role was as Flay. He utterly WAS Flay. And, lord, if I, as a Texan have to explain this to you all, well......

    Gormenghast rules!!!

  8. Robert Helpmann??

    Death Comes for Death

    I enjoyed Christopher Lee in so many roles, but giving voice to Death in productions of Terry Pratchett's works were among my favorites. The world is a richer place for having enjoyed the company of both.

  9. Stevie


    Yep, Lee was The Dracula. His Saruman was definitive too. The world just got a lot smaller again.

  10. Jimbo in Thailand

    RIP Scaramanga

    I grew up enjoying Christopher Lee's many wonderfully scary characters. He truly was a great actor. At least he lived a long full life. You are already missed Mr. Lee.

    Godspeed sir.

  11. frank ly

    He met Tolkien and had a drink with him

    Sir Christopher actually met Tolkien in a pub (some kind of organised get together so admirers could meet the author). Afterwards, he said that he was star-struck and could barely talk to Tolkien. This was at a time when he was already well known and admired for his Hammer roles. As such, he was the only member of the cast/team of LotR who had met Tolkien.

    I did watch the Hammer Horror films on tv when I was young and Christopher Lee was the only character who scared me because he played his roles so well. RIP Sir Christopher.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Rest in peace, Christopher Lee

    I grew up with his Hammer films on Saturday afternoon movies and the local late night "Creature Features" horror movie show. I also very much enjoyed him as Scaramanga, the hyper-competitive international assassin in "Man With the Golden Gun"

  13. Sproing

    we'll be seeing him again

    ... unless of course he's been beheaded, stuffed with garlic, staked, doused in holy water and then placed in a crystal coffin in close orbit around the sun.

    And even then I wouldn't be sure.

    Good actor, good man by all accounts, glass raised.

  14. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Incredible Character

    One of the few actors who was so compelling you forgot who he was while you were watching. He became his characters.

    A good innings Sir, and a well earned rest.

  15. Blank-Reg

    I raise a drink to your memory. I'd like to have met at some point and it is often regarded that he was a true gentleman. He's definitely had a good innings and I've enjoyed many of his films and works appearing in some of the biggest franchises from James Bond, LotR and Star Wars and, in some cases, still doing his own stunts! Not many people can claim that.

    However, for me, his rendition of Discworlds Death was the best. Wyrd Sisters, Soul Music, Colour of Magic, etc. Now, when I read a Discworld book, I can never read or hear Death in any other voice other than in Mr Lee's bass tones.

  16. Trollslayer

    Don't forget Gremlins 2

    Delightfully over the top!

  17. Christoph

    "If you don't name your poison

    I'll have to get the boys in"


    He's dead now...

    ... but for how long?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    if you're not 12

    The Devil Rides out. Actors dont have to be shuffing around in makeup to be worth watching. RIP

  20. TRT Silver badge

    Died on Sunday, announced yesterday.

    Well they had to leave it a few nights just to be sure.

    Sadly missed. Great actor, nice chap.

  21. Andrew Moore


    Christopher Lee is facing off Death in a heavy metal showdown...

  22. TeeCee Gold badge

    "physical demands of the role"

    In one interview I saw, he said that his doctor had told him in no uncertain terms that he should not fly to NZ for the filming of LotR, as the stress of flying long-haul could kill him.

    He decided he wasn't going to pass up the opportunity, especially not because of someone else's opinion of how well he felt at the time.

  23. Dan Paul

    Way back in the stone ages...

    I used to scare myself silly watching those Hammer films on Canadian TV channels late at night or even during broad daylight. I must have been in my early teens. I'd sneak into the living room and turn the TV on low. I remember screaming out loud and getting caught one night because of some shocking reveal of the Vampire in all his gory makeup. Christopher Lee WAS the Vampire and others paled by comparison.

    He really did become his roles. That thundering voice and dark eyes truly demanded your attention.

    Roles such as Scaramanga in the Man with the Golden Gun, Saruman in LOTR, Count Dooku in Star Wars, each were characters that played to his capabilities without being stereotypical. I'm surprised he did not do war movies too but as with many that were actually in WWII, they did not want to talk about or even acknowledge what happened.

    Such a full life Lee had. We all could only hope to reach 93, let alone have over 250 acting roles to our credit.

  24. tony2heads

    Noble origins

    I think that he was convincing as a Count (Dracula or Dooku) as his mother was a Contessa, and he met with some of Russian nobles after their exile.

    I'll get my cape

  25. earl grey

    You will be missed

    By many thousands of us. Your family has our condolences and we lift this beer to you!

  26. Stratman


    a mortuary night shift assistant is in for one hell of a shock.

    RIP sir, you'll be missed.

    Mind you, if his funeral doesn't feature eerie ominous organ music and a coffin lid slowly creaking open, his family have no sense of occasion.

  27. Mike Banahan

    Man of many talents

    I remember years ago when living in Germany, watching him being interviewed on the "Gottschalk" chat show (which was often well worth watching). It was very common to see non-German actors being interviewed with simultaneous translation and the process was by and large not too bad, though obviously the conversation didn't flow quite so easily.

    About two minutes into his interview, Lee decided to dispense with the translation, switched from English to German (which he averred he 'had never been taught') and then finished the rest of the interview speaking what was clearly pretty good German. Highly impressive.

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