Christopher Lee passes away at age 93

christopher-lee-dooku

Veteran actor Christopher Lee, who counted Star Wars’ Count Dooku among his hundreds of film roles, died Sunday in London.

In the ’50s and ’60s, he was best known for his work in the Hammer Horror films, where he famously played Count Dracula, often alongside another actor who eventually showed up in Star Wars, Peter Cushing. In the ’70s, he upped his profile with pivotal roles in The Wicker Man and The Man with the Golden Gun.

(My personal introduction to Lee was 1982’s The Last Unicorn, where he voiced the villain, King Haggard.)

In the early 2000s, he gained a whole new audience in two of the decades biggest franchises, playing Dooku in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, and the wizard Saruman in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings adaptions. He also appeared in several Tim Burton films.

Films aside, Lee led a intriguing life: He served as an intelligence officer during and just after World War II, where his duties involved hunting down Nazi war criminals. (In an infamous bit from the Lord of the Rings extras, he tells Peter Jackson how it sounds when a man is stabbed in the back.)

He also released several heavy metal concept albums, the last in 2013.

Below the cut, a handful of tweets. Continue reading “Christopher Lee passes away at age 93”

People in the news: Lucas, Hamill and Lee

George’s zen. George Lucas gave a resounding “whatever” to the whole PT vs. OT matter the other night, and apparently a grown man acting like an adult about the subject is something shocking. Oh, internet. (If only he’d worn that ‘Han Shots First’ shirt!) Also, he was on NPR’s Fresh Air.

Another shocker. PC Zone asked Mark Hamill why he’s never voiced Luke Skywalker in a video game. Turns out? He’s never been asked. But then, hasn’t the quality and cachet of video games grown quite a bit since the last time (ever?) LucasArts did anything that featured Luke as more than a cameo…?

Presented without comment. Christopher Lee is making a symphonic metal concept album.

Video: Nostalgia Chick looks for The Last Unicorn

This isn’t the best Nostalgia Chick, but it’s The Last Unicorn! It was my favorite movie as a kid – I watched it so much that my mother hates it to this day – so I couldn’t not post it. And hey, Christopher Lee!

I can’t believe that it was made by the same guys who did that horrible animated Lord of the Rings. That cartoon is why it took Peter Jackson four-plus hours and a cliffhanger to get me to actually read the trilogy.

Meanwhile, the Nostalgia Critic has a tribute to two other staples of my childhood, Siskel and Ebert. (Is that weird? That the syndicated tv show of two movie critics is a staple of my childhood? TOO BAD.)

Christopher Lee now officially knighted

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The Prince of Wales did the deed Friday at Buckingham Palace. Lee’s service to the genre extends far back his recent resurgence in Attack of the Clones and the Lord of the Rings trilogy – he’s appeared in 267 films, most notably the title role in Hammer Films’ Dracula (with Peter Cushing as Van Helsing,) The Wicker Man, and The Man with the Golden Gun. My generation’s introduction to him was probably as a voice in 1982’s animated The Last Unicorn. (It took me more than a year to figure out why Dooku/Saruman sounded so familiar…)