Happy 90th to one of our favorite…

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy 90th to one of our favorite…

Sir Christopher Lee

...nonagenarians, British actor Sir Christopher Lee, CBE, CStJ, who joined that select group this very day!

The veteran of over 270 screen roles since his film debut in 1946, his towering (6'5") presence and rich, classically-trained bass voice had Lee quickly rising through the ranks of the J. Arthur Rank Organiza­tion, from "carrying a spear" in Laurence Olivier's "Hamlet," to his many pairings with Peter Cushing in the Hammer horror flicks of the mid-'50s and into the '70s, where he played the role of "Count Dracula" a total of 15 times.

Lee as "Dracula" in 1958

(The actor most closely associated with the role, Bela Lugosi who originated it on stage and screen, only played the Carpathian Count twice on film, which factoid was one of my favorite "trivia" questions.)

Among other roles Lee portrayed while in harness to Hammer, aside from "Dracula," he was "The Mummy" and "Frankenstein's Monster," giving Lon Chaney Jr. a good run in respect to versatility in monster make-up.

Over the decades Lee's physical stature and rich voice became well-known in other, more prestigious productions like the "Star Wars" saga and the "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

The actor has also played a brains heavy in a 007 movie, the sinister Sax Rohmer oriental mastermind "Dr. Fu Manchu," and is the only one to have pulled off a Conan Doyle trifecta, portraying at various times, the characters of "Sherlock Holmes," his brilliant but misanthropic brother "Mycroft" and his arch enemy "Professor Moriarty."

(That one's a winner in any group which takes its trivia seriously.)

Happy Birthday, Sir Christopher! Keep'em coming!

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