“I’ve always acknowledged my debt to Hammer. I’ve always said I’m very grateful to them. They gave me this great opportunity, made me a well-known face all over the world for which I am profoundly grateful.”
– Sir Christopher Lee (1922 – 2015)
Ladies and gentlemen, the last of the true horror legends has died. Sir Christopher Lee has left us at the age of 93. I don’t think there is one monster kid out there who wasn’t preparing for this day. We all had seen images in recent years as he looked frail and could no longer travel outside of England. Yet, he never seemed to stop. The monster movie kid in me couldn’t imagine a world without at least one of the horror greats still among us. Sadly, that day has now arrived.
From his earliest horror roles as the monster in The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and Count Dracula in Horror of Dracula (1958) to his role as Saruman in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014), he seemed ever present in the horror community. As we lost other legends from the Universal days such as Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney Jr. so long ago, Lee brought forth a modern era of horror films, staying with the original Hammer until the lights were turned off. As his friends Vincent Price and Peter Cushing left us, Lee remained as the last legend of bygone days.
He continued to act in such recent franchise behemoths as The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies as well as making his mark in the Star Wars franchise more than decade ago. With each film, we wondered how he was still able to entertain us and we relished each film appearance. He also continued to shock many with his contributions to the heavy metal universe. It seemed as if Sir Christopher Lee would live forever.
Christopher Lee quietly celebrated his 93rd birthday in the hospital last month. A life full of television and film roles behind him, shelves adorned with such honors as the BAFTA Academy Fellowship that was awarded him in 2011, he was still making movies for future generations.
In honor of his passing, I will be dedicating the month of July to the films of Christopher Lee. I had originally planned to do a mini-tribute to the master last month in honor of his 93rd birthday alongside remembering two other greats from the past, Vincent Price and Peter Cushing. However, July will now be exclusively for Sir Christopher Lee.
The last chapter on an era of greatness is now closed. Rest in peace Sir Christopher Lee.