Earlier this morning, the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital issued a statement that Christopher Lee had died on June 7, 2015. Lee had been admitted recently for respiratory problems and heart failure, and celebrated his 93rd birthday in the hospital just over two weeks ago. Still, his death comes as a major surprise. Lee, a heavy metal singer on top of his vast work in film, had just released an EP titled Metal Knight this past December. His final film, Angels in Notting Hill, is due to be released sometime in 2015.
Shortly after serving the Finnish and British militaries from 1939 to 1946, Lee began acting in B-movies. His career spanned nearly seven decades, over which he turned in more than 250 performances in television and film. Lee is best remembered for his height (6’5″) and his demeanor, both which have distinguished him as one of the most legendary movie villains in movie history. He became recognizable in the late 1950’s for his portrayal of Dracula in the film of the same name, and played the character ten more times between 1966 and 1976. His roles in recent films include Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Saruman in The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, and other roles in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Hugo, The Golden Compass, and Dark Shadows. Though his transition from B-movies to Hollywood is somewhat recent, Lee has nonetheless established himself as an integral part of mainstream cinema. He is most certainly missed.