Younger fans will mention Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings as among their favorite films which starts Christopher Lee, only to realize later that he has done 281 films in a span of 70 years as an actor. The two films are just a tip of what Christopher Lee has done in his lifetime.
Watch Christopher talk about one of his favorite roles on film.
Here are just some of his most notable roles.
1. The Curse of Frankenstein
Lee played Frankenstein’s monster opposite Peter Cushing’s Baron Victor Frankenstein in the first of more than 20 film collaborations and his first film with production company Hammer; it was the launch of his career in horror. The success of the film led to a horror revival on the big screen as well as films such as Dracula to be remade.
2. The Horror of Dracula
Count Dracula would become Lee’s most famous role, one he played 10 times from 1958 to 1973. A remake of the film from the 1930s, Lee’s Dracula transformed what people thought about the character, and the first one, in which he only shows up for a small amount of time, was both a critical and commercial success. By the ’70s, the films flopped and Lee performed as the Count for the last time.
3. The Mummy
Back before people associated The Mummy with Brendan Fraser, Lee started as the titular Mummy who’s accidentally brought back from the dead by archaeologists and wreaks havoc on those who desecrated his love’s tomb.
4. The Wicker Man
Once called “the Citizen Kane of horror films,” the story of The Wicker Man zeroes in on a police sergeant searching for a missing girl in a town taken over by Celtic paganism, and it remains a cult classic 40 years after its release. Lee, as the lord of the island, is as creepy as ever. Lee would later call it the best film he’s been in.
5. The Three Musketeers
Rochefort, the character Lee portrayed in this take of the classic, is about as classic villain as you can get: He’s got an eyepatch, a mustache to twist, he can fight with a sword, and we can’t take our eyes off him. Of course, showing even more of his talents, Lee could also fence in real life.
6. The Man with The Golden Gun
Lee, playing an assassin who pays large sums for kills, faced off against Roger Moore’s James Bond. He admired him just as much as he wanted to kill him. They’re not so different, you know.
7. Saturday Night Live hosting
After moving to the States to try something new, Lee showed off his comedic chops and hosted an episode of the third season of SNL with Meat Loaf as the musical guest. Although most of it is hidden behind a paywall, he adorably introduces “Loaf” to perform. The hosting gig got him a role in Steven Spielberg’s 1941 and an offer for Airplane!, one he turned down (and later regretted).
8. Sherlock Holmes and the Incident at Victoria Falls
He already played Sherlock’s brother Mycroft in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, but he put on the deerstalker cap in two films of his own: The Incident at Victoria Falls and The Leading Lady.