Happy Birthday to English actor Christopher Lee, who turns 92 today!
Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was born on May 27, 1922 in Belgravia, London, England.
To say that Christopher’s resume is impressive would be a complete understatement. We all know of his role in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies as Saruman, but where else can we witness his remarkable acting skills? Some of Christopher’s most notable appearances are found in the Hammer Horror films as Count Dracula, as James Bond villain Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun, and as Count Dooku in Star Wars episodes 2 and 3.
In addition to his film and television roles, Christopher is a classically trained singer and has recorded several heavy metal albums and EP’s. He has also lent his voice to several opera pieces, the narration of the recently released “LEGO: The Hobbit” video game, The Children of Húrin audiobook, and much more.
Christopher is the only cast member from either Middle-earth trilogy to have actually had the honour of meeting Professor Tolkien in person! Here is what he had to say of the encounter,
We were sitting there talking and drinking beer, and someone said, “Oh, look who walked in.” It was Professor Tolkien, and I nearly fell off my chair. I didn’t even know he was alive. He was a benign looking man, smoking a pipe, walking in, an English countryman with earth under his feet. And he was a genius, a man of incredible intellectual knowledge. He knew somebody in our group. He (the man in the group) said “Oh Professor, Professor…” And he came over. And each one of us, well I knelt of course, each one of us said “how do you do?” And I just said “Ho.. How.. How…”
While it is impossible to convey every bit of Christopher’s incredible life and career in a single post, I’ve picked out a few particularly interesting pieces for you:
- Christopher first read The Hobbit after returning from World War II and The Lord of the Rings when it was first released. He has reread them every year since.
- He is fluent in English, French, Italian, Spanish and German, and can “get by” in Swedish, Russian and Greek.
- At the age of 88, he became the oldest person to ever record lead vocals on a heavy metal track.
- Christopher has participated in more on-screen sword fights than any other actor in history.
- He’s the only person to have played both Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes (he was also Henry Baskerville at one point).
- After enlisting in the Royal Air Force in 1941, he worked as an intelligence officer for five years (during World War II).
- At 6 feet 5 inches, he is entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as “The Tallest Leading Actor”.
- He did all of his own stunts and is an honorary member of three Stuntmen’s Unions.
- The episode of Saturday Night Live he hosted in 1978 is still the third highest rated show of the series.
- Christopher originally read for the part of Gandalf but was called back to play Saruman.
- He appears on the cover of Paul McCartney’s 1973 album “Band on the Run”.
The Middle-earth News Team is pleased to wish Christopher a very Happy Birthday!