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”
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.
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.)
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…)
The genre acting legend, who played Count Dooku in two of the prequels, has received one very big honor: He’s among those knighted Saturday by Queen Elizabeth II.
Lee is not the first Star Wars player to be knighted, of course: Sir Alec Guinness had already held the title for almost two decades when he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977.
Galactic-Voyage spotted an exchange on the forums of Christopher Lee’s official site that confirms the actor is providing the voice of Dooku for the movie.
The site’s administrator, Juan Aneiros, had this to say:
Mr. Lee has recorded the voice of Count Dooku for this movie a couple of months ago.
It was however, the first time he had to lip synch to a character because they had produced the animation before recording his voice.
Okay. Don’t post for a couple of weeks and you end up with quite the stack of things to tell you about. I hope your budgets are doing well.
Jedi Trial by David Sherman and Dan Cragg – This is a Clone Wars hardcover novel leading up to events in Episode 3. Your position in or out of the spoiler cave will determine if you want to read this one. The premise sounds intriguing.
Inside the Worlds of Star Wars Trilogy by James Luceno – The cool Cross-Section books from DK go back to the worlds of the Classic Trilogy. Many nifty things to explore. I always enjoy these books.
Long Way Round – by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman – Okay. So this isn’t strictly Star Wars. But it’s Ewan McGregor, isn’t it? And the book is as interesting as the show appears to be. It’s a hardcover, so it might be placed oddly in your local bookstore.
Amazing Stories – December 2004 – Hey. We’re kinda partial to Paizo, the publisher of Amazing Stories. But the magazine is full of all sorts of great stories. And we like that they’re willing to give little guys a chance. Like this one guy: Aaron Allston. Oh, wait. We know him! Actually, Aaron is a much-beloved Star Wars writer who was given the chance to write a 1,000 word story to go with a picture. If you were at DragonCon, you might have heard about it.
Dreamwatch – November 2004 – Well, Dreamwatch has started officially publishing in the US. Will it remain as good as its UK counterpart? We’re hoping so. It looks intriguing this issue with its interview of Gary Kurtz and his views of the creation of the original trilogy. No Ep3 spoilers spotted, but there is discussion about the TV show. (Sorry. Can’t seem to find a US website.)
Film Review Special – #54, The Sex Issue – See where your favorite Star Wars actors rate on the Top100 sexiest actors list. (There’s a good number of the men of Star Wars on there.) And find out all sorts of salacious stories about your other fandom favorites, as well.
Starburst – Issue 316 – Christopher Lee is doing video games, now. Is there any medium he has yet to conquer? There’s also coverage of the rumor mill about Episodes 7 through 9.
Until next week!