Christopher Lee is a legend, an icon, a bona fide walking all-time movie great. And now, thanks to the Queen and her Birthday Honours List, he’s also set to become Sir Christopher Lee. And about bloody time, too – here are 50 reasons why his knighthood is long overdue…
His hairstyle – slicked back to within an inch of its life – is a damned difficult one to pull off. Lee manages it with aplomb. Only Ray Reardon has come close since.
His autobiography is called Lord Of Misrule, which is a damn sight more inventive than ‘Christopher Lee: Fangs For The Memories.” It’s also a great read.
He was born on the same day – May 27th – as fellow horror legend, Vincent Price.
He appears on this album cover.
He was one of the judges for the 1995 Miss World beauty pageant. This is beyond awesome.
He claims to have been involved in more on-screen swordfights than any other actor.
He’s 6’ 5”, which makes him a massive Count.
He’s starred in nearly 230 films, which makes Samuel L. Jackson look lazy.
He doesn’t often play the hero, but he got his day in the sun with Hammer’s wonderful The Devil Rides Out.
This official website: www.christopherleeweb.com - although it hasn’t been updated in a while. His Christmas message, in particular, is worth checking out.
He kicked Yoda’s arse.
He witnessed the execution of Eugen Weidmann, the last person to be publicly executed in France, in 1939.
He was a member of the Special Operations Executive during World War II – which means whatever actions he undertook for King and country are still classified.
He’s also played Dr. Fu Manchu – five times, no less.
He supplied uncredited voice work for the English translation of Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday.
He’s played Terry Pratchett’s Death several times – the first time in a short in 1996, while he most recently supplied the voice for last year’s The Colour Of Magic on Sky.
He also played a character called Mr. Death on a Saturday Night Live sketch back in 1978.
This quote: “Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff didn't like the word ‘horror’. They, like I, went for the French description: ‘the theatre of the fantastique’.”
He can say lines like this: "For it is written: the inhabitants of the Earth have been made drunk with her blood. And I saw her sent upon a hairy beast and she held forth a golden chalice full of the filthiness of fornications. And upon her forehead was written: 'Behold I am the great mother of harlots and all abominations of the Earth.'" – with a straight face.
He’s lent that mellifluous voice of his to several video games including several Star Wars games, and Kingdom Hearts II.
He’s recorded a variety of audiobooks, including this unknown gem. Frankly, we’d pay to hear him narrate a Dominos pizza menu.
Bit of a cheat, this, but his movies have made more money than any other actor’s: almost $5 billion, to be precise. Helps to be in Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, doesn’t it?
He’s a fan of the heavy metal bands, Rhapsody and Manowar.
He speaks eight languages, not including Elvish.
He was playing golf with Ian Fleming when Fleming came up with the famous Goldfinger golf game.
He appeared in 1982’s House Of The Long Shadows, alongside fellow horror icons, Vincent Price and Peter Cushing.
When he kneels before the Queen, it won’t be the first time as he’s played a Knight on six different occasions, starting with Sir Felix Raybourne in Bombay Waterfront in 1951.
He’s still going at the ripe old age of 87 – in fact, he’s got no fewer than six projects on the go at the moment.
Including a return to Hammer with a role in Invasion Of Privacy…
He’s also played Lords, Majors, Captains, Ducs and, of course, Counts.
He’s Christopher motherf**kin’ Lee. Actually, he’s Sir Christopher motherf**kin’ Lee.
robspare Posted on Monday June 15, 2009, 14:01
A true gentleman and a wonderful actor who has starred in some of my favourite films. Along with Peter Cushing, Sir Christopher Lee has long been a hero of mine and this is a truly deserved honour for Her Majesty to bestow. I hope that he is able to continue his remarkable career for some time to come.
Leon Posted on Monday June 15, 2009, 14:24
When you say he played a knight 6 times, how many could be prefixed by 'jedi'?
britesparc Posted on Monday June 15, 2009, 15:31
Anyone who is Saruman, Dooku, Dracula, Holmes, AND a Bond villain (to say nothing of his other roles) deserves a knighthood. One of the greatest British screen actors of all time, and one of the coolest movie stars too. An awesome man, congrats.
Apparently (according to his autobiog) he'd love to play Don Quixote. Are you listening, Gilliam?!
paul.mccluskey Posted on Monday June 15, 2009, 15:34
A living legend. He truly deserves this honour.
In relation to the Special Operations Executive, he knows what sound a man makes when he is stabbed. therefore, he killed a Nazi!
I would love Empire to actually run a piece in which Lee narrates a Dominos pizza menu!
Christopher Lee is one of the greatest living actors EVER, and I've said this once, so I'll say it again... Best. Dracula. EVER!
zutton Posted on Monday June 15, 2009, 16:11
Excellent trivia, very lovely. Sir Lee has long been a favourite of mine, having long since entered quite irrevocably into the gilded select of cult cinema.
I do hope they'll ring him up to revisit his role as Saruman for The Hobbit. I mean, how could that film happen without Christopher Lee? Particularly if they're going with the whole Wizard Council subplot.
AquaDragon2K Posted on Monday June 15, 2009, 16:36
Great blog and very insightful!
Noelg25 Posted on Monday June 15, 2009, 17:17
I have to say it's about bloody fecking time too for the Legend to get a Knighthood. And those are some very good reasons too :)
Sydney Schaeffer Posted on Monday June 15, 2009, 17:19
Good call on Dr Catheter and Devil Rides Out. But no mention of 1941?
Whilst I agree he'd be good for Quixote, I'm not sure Gilliam would be wise to try getting anyone as old as Lee on a horse for long periods. Not after last time.
Chris Hewitt Posted on Monday June 15, 2009, 17:53
Thought about putting 1941 in. Then I stumbled upon Revelation, and the die was cast.
petecriss8000 Posted on Monday June 15, 2009, 18:28
He said "I am the Apocalypse" and NOTHING ELSE in one film.
I'm surprised no-one's mentioned him surviving SEVEN bouts with Malaria, which I reckon his Gremlins appearance made reference to. Like Hewitt says, check out his awesome book, Lord of Misrule for more factoids, and the sentence "I measured my length in the water", which taken out of context is a marvelous phrase.
When I saw his face on the BBC news page I felt my stomach sink, thinking he'd died. But no, something much better has happened! Well deserving of a blog, a knighthood, and many more years of deadly movie appearances.
weedstain Posted on Monday June 15, 2009, 21:04
Has anybody noticed that the handle on his lightsaber is bent?
Unless that's common, he can bend lightsabers with his mind
woody1812 Posted on Monday June 15, 2009, 22:05
Apparently he was once quizzed by a journalist on his experiences with the SOE; when the impudent whelp asked for a detailed account, Sir Christopher Lee leaned in and said "can you keep a secret?", to which an excitable man said "of course!" and was met with a terse "Well so can I." Hero.
caporip Posted on Monday June 15, 2009, 22:16
I just have one question:-
What took them so bloody long?
Good call on his autobiography its an enthralling read.
grantjohnson123 Posted on Monday June 15, 2009, 22:51
"30. He kicked Yoda’s arse." - lets face it he didnt actually do this, it was more of a draw, plus he then went and got his arse kicked by Anakin! but he is one of the coolest actors in the world!!!
ArtDepartmentAlbert Posted on Tuesday June 16, 2009, 08:56
...woah, oooooonly joking.
keef_mac Posted on Tuesday June 16, 2009, 09:49
Even if I didn't already love him as an actor, the fact that he has been in 4 of Tim Burton's films makes him as cool as Johnny Depp!
lsdbaby Posted on Tuesday June 16, 2009, 11:34
Only 50 reasons? Read Lord of Misrule and I think there's a reason on every page! Mr Lee's life has been so stupendous, it's like a checklist of awesomeness. He met two of the people who helped kill Rasputin. He had sword fights with Errol Flynn. He would have been an RAF fighter pilot if it weren't for those gosh-darned blackouts. I'll bet he can beat my score on MGS4 as well...
I love listening to interviews with his co-stars, they all have an interesting anecdote about one of his (many!) talents or his gentlemanly demeanor. He is a screen legend and he truly is my Hollywood hero. One of the few regrets in my life is that I keep missing him whenever I go to one of his appearances!
I salute you Sir!
(Great article BTW)
petecriss8000 Posted on Tuesday June 16, 2009, 11:44
You know, that golf scene in Goldfinger may be my favourite scene in a film ever? It's either that, or the one in the first Kill Bill film where Kiddo meets Hanzo for the first time and acts all touristy.
bobet Posted on Tuesday June 16, 2009, 13:08
He done alot for cinema but did nowt for me as Saruman!
keef_mac Posted on Tuesday June 16, 2009, 13:24
I can't believe his appearance in Police Academy 7 didn't warrant a mention in the top 50 reasons!
raclements Posted on Tuesday June 16, 2009, 13:45
I actually nominated Sir Christopher (as we can call him now) for this a few years ago- so I think it's only fitting that I take full credit for him getting this award.
fletch666 Posted on Tuesday June 16, 2009, 14:00
Lord Summerisle, enough said
general_potatoface Posted on Tuesday June 16, 2009, 14:58
Adding my voice to the crowd saying his autobiography is effin great.
The man is very nearly a God.
I once dreamed he was my Grandad. Which would be unbelievably cool.
richithekiller Posted on Tuesday June 16, 2009, 15:36
I worked for now defunct chain Music Zone, who managed to totally balls up an instore by the great Sir Lee, by not advertising the event, and forgetting to put his name on any of the posters when LOTR or SW came out, I can't remember which. My boss Adam was then personally given a rocket by the great man. Which probably seems cool now, but he was very cross!
britesparc Posted on Tuesday June 16, 2009, 15:58
Dooku has a curved lightsaber handle, reminiscent of an old sabre or something. That doesn't detract from his coolness: he's the only person in the SW films to have a curvy handle, which is impressive.
I, too, have read Lord of Misrule and consider it a wonderful read. He's a great guy. Well done him.
Razorus Posted on Tuesday June 16, 2009, 18:16
Definitely about bloody time. Well deserved. It's amazing how he's still working at his age. I was scared he would die before he would be knighted!
Congratulations Mr. Lee, and thank you for keeping us entertained all these years!
Snake-Eyes Posted on Tuesday June 16, 2009, 20:25
I did an online search for the term 'sad bastard' and all I got for results was pictures of Chris Hewitt.... Strange.
lfrost Posted on Tuesday June 16, 2009, 20:52
Anyone remember him in SERIAL as the gay biker?
When religious guru Smothers says I love you he replies Yeah, but can you prove it?
He said then he would enjoy doing more comedy and that was 30 years ago!
VijayUK Posted on Wednesday June 17, 2009, 08:52
He looks great for his age (87).
pottynoodles Posted on Wednesday June 17, 2009, 13:22
Congratulations Sir Christopher, am sure at 87 he doesn't need validation but it's great to see a lifetime achievement rewarded, for the person as much as the body of work
danbam Posted on Friday June 19, 2009, 16:04
Well done. Love him - especially the voice. A bit confused by #2 - I always thought the anecdote was that he met Tolkein in the Reading Room at the British Library?...
fgherman Posted on Friday June 19, 2009, 16:13
And of course, he played the ultimate Rochefort in the Richard Lester Musketeer movies.
Teamwak Posted on Friday June 19, 2009, 17:26
Peter Jackson wanted him to scream when he was stabbed in the back in LOTR, but he told PJ that the noise a human made when knifed in the back was a gasp, and that he knew that from his OSE days.The fact that he knows that is too cool for school lol
And he gasps in that scene ;)
CoxintheBox Posted on Saturday June 20, 2009, 00:32
Guys a legend.I gotta read his book.
Snoopy45 Posted on Sunday June 21, 2009, 12:28
He was pitch-perfect as Flay in the BBC's production of Mervyn Peake's "Gormenghast". Loved his bonkers turn in "The Wicker Man" as well. He's a legend. End of story.
reservoirdoll1987 Posted on Monday June 22, 2009, 12:43
I may have just added his book to my basket on Amazon. *whistles*
Congratulations Sir Christopher! Am hugely shocked to discover he's 87, you wouldn't think it to look at him...
Chris Hewitt Posted on Monday June 22, 2009, 23:14
Reservoirdoll, in that case my work here is done.
Snake-Eyes, thanks. I tagged all those pics myself.