Christopher Lee dies aged 93

The film world is mourning Sir Christopher Lee who has died aged 93. The titan of the movie industry passed away in hospital on Sunday after nearly seven decades as an actor.

A veteran of 350 titles, he was best known for playing Bond villain Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun and Count Dracula in the Hammer Horror films.

His wife of more than 50 years Birgit Kroencke delayed the announcement of his death until she had informed close family.


He worked so tirelessly that whenever an enthusiastic fan tried to tell him they had seen all his movies, the legend liked to say: "No you haven't". Even he never managed to see them all.

Sir Christopher, who was known for his commanding height of 6ft 5in and distinctive voice, never retired.

Speaking to the Telegraph in 2011 he explained why staying at home with a pipe and slippers wasn't for him. In the interview he referred to his colleagues Boris Karloff, Vincent Price and Peter Cushing, who worked well past retirement age.

“(Retirement)’s not for me. I hate being idle," he said. "As dear Boris used to say, when I die I want to die with my boots on. Which he did. As did Vincent. And Peter.”

And die with his boots on he did. Sir Christopher's name was attached to a film about 9/11 with Uma Thurman that was due to start shooting in the autumn.

The actor's career began in 1948 after his service in World War II with the Special Operations Executive, the precursor to the SAS. He had a one-line part in strange romance Corridor of Mirrors.

He went on to star in so many horror movies that for a while the genre threatened to define him. However, the role he was most proud of was Jinnah, about the founder of Pakistan, where he played the title role.

Well into the Noughties Sir Christopher was still sought after. He appeared as Saruman the White in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Count Dooku in the Star Wars franchise.

Tim Burton recruited him for several films including Alice in Wonderland and Sleepy Hollow, where he became good friends with Johnny Depp. The Hollywood star had the honour of presenting his friend with a British Film Institute fellowship a few years ago.

Close to tears at the occasion in 2013, the veteran said: "I didn't know you were going to be here. I must try and pull myself together."

In his tribute Johnny said: "He's been a wonderful individual and over the years I've had the pleasure of working with him and it has been a childhood dream come true.

"But as great as it is to work with him, that pleasure doesn't compare with getting to know him and being able to count him as a true friend.

He finished by describing him as "a national treasure and a genuine artist".