Actors

15 Delightful Secrets About Christopher Lee

1. With a career spanning nearly 70 years, Lee initially portrayed villains and became best known for his role as Count Dracula in a sequence of Hammer Horror films.

2. His other film roles include Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun .

3. Lee was knighted for services to drama and charity in 2009, received the BAFTA Fellowship in 2011 and received the BFI Fellowship in 2013.

4. Always noted as an actor for his deep strong voice, Lee was also known for his singing ability, recording various opera and musical pieces between 1986 and 1998 and the symphonic metal album Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross in 2010 after having worked with several metal bands since 2005.

5. The heavy metal follow-up titled Charlemagne: The Omens of Death was released on 27 May 2013. He was honoured with the “Spirit of Metal” award at the 2010 Metal Hammer Golden God awards ceremony.

6. Lee died from complications of respiratory problems and heart failure in a Chelsea hospital on the morning of 7 June 2015 at the age of 93.

7. The family moved to Fulham, living next door to the actor Eric Maturin.

8. When World War II broke out, Lee volunteered to fight for the Finnish forces during the Winter War in 1939. He and other British volunteers were kept away from actual fighting, but they were issued winter gear and were posted on guard duty a safe distance from the front lines.

9. After a fortnight, they returned home. Lee returned to work at United States Lines and found his work more satisfying, feeling that he was contributing.

10. Realising that he had no inclination to follow his father into the Army, Lee decided to join up while he still had some choice of service, and volunteered for the Royal Air Force.

11. Lee reported to RAF Uxbridge for training and was then posted to the Initial Training Wing at Paignton. Training with de Havilland Tiger Moths, Lee was having his penultimate training session before his first solo flight when he suffered from headaches and blurred vision.

12. The medical officer hesitantly diagnosed a failure of his optic nerve and he was told he would never be allowed to fly again. Lee was devastated and the death of a fellow trainee from Summer Fields only made him more despondent.

13. His appeals were fruitless and he was left with nothing to do. He then visited the Mazowe Dam, Marandellas, the Wankie Game Reserve and the ruins of Great Zimbabwe.

14. Thinking he should “do something constructive for my keep”, he applied to join RAF Intelligence.

15. His superiors praised his initiative and he was seconded into the Rhodesian Police Force and was posted as a warder at Salisbury Prison.

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