[[caption-width-right:350:[[OhCrap "Wait, I think I can hear]] [[TheHunter Peter Cushing."]]]]
->''"There are many vampires in the world today -- you only have to think of the [[HorribleHollywood film business.]]"''

'''[[OverlyLongName Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee]]''' (May 27, 1922-) is a veteran British actor who initially made his name playing villains - most famously Count {{Dracula}} in Film/HammerHorror films (although he was a hero in ''Film/TheDevilRidesOut''). He became well known for his horror work, and was good friends with Creator/VincentPrice and Creator/PeterCushing, and the three were known as the "Unholy Trinity of Horror" for a while. During the 1970s, he also played Lord Summerisle in the original version of ''TheWickerMan'' and Francisco Scaramanga in the film version of one of his cousin (and war buddy, but more on that later) Creator/IanFleming's books, ''Film/TheManWithTheGoldenGun''. He's even been a [[ManlyGay leader of a gang of gay bikers]] in the satire on American life ''Serial''. His piercing eyes and melodious bass voice made him instantly recognizable. See CompellingVoice.

Although he never stopped acting, famous roles dried up a little during the 1980s and 1990s, until he returned with a vengeance, playing villains again, in two of the most widely-seen movie series of the new century: Count Dooku in ''Franchise/StarWars'' and Saruman the White in ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings''. He was the only member of the ''Lord of the Rings'' cast to have met [[Creator/JRRTolkien the author]] in person ''and'' was an avid scholar of Tolkien's work (he apparently reads the entirety of it once every year), often advising Jackson and Boyens on some of the finer points of the backstory. He wanted to play the role of Gandalf but he felt he was too old for the role when films got around to being made. He has also had a cameo as a member of the church hierarchy in ''Film/TheGoldenCompass'', so that particular character would [[NarrowedItDownToTheGuyIRecognize probably have turned out to be important]] had the sequels not been canned.

During UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo, Lee served with the Royal Air Force and intelligence service, and has mentioned in the past that he also served with [[{{SOE}} Special Operations Executive]] (otherwise known as The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare). The SOE was set up by Churchill to "set Europe ablaze", and it included - among others - Christopher Lee and Ian Fleming, making it the obvious inspiration for the ''Literature/JamesBond'' series. So there's a good reason that Lee was cast in one of the film versions. After the War, he also became a NaziHunter, hunting down War Criminals due to being fluent in both French and German.

During the filming of ''The Lord of the Rings'', he disagreed with Peter Jackson over certain aspects of his character's death scene, insinuating that he knows firsthand the sound a man makes when he's stabbed in the back (see RealityIsUnrealistic). Take that as you will.

While known primarily as an actor, Lee also trained as an operatic bass-baritone [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8W2fkhfFPc singer]]. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KPZJg5g7M8 Some things]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z93SdirnzTw you just can't make up.]] He recently came out with [[http://www.toplessrobot.com/2010/01/christopher_lee_will_rock_your_face_off.php a metal album]], called ''[[Music/{{Charlemagne}} Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross]]''. Some things are just too awesome for words. Oh, and he [[http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1263440/Dracula-star-Sir-Christopher-Lee-gets-taste-head-banging--age-87.html head-bangs]]. The veteran actor says he often throws himself around to heavy metal. ‘I do head-banging every day,’ he said. ‘Exercising my neck muscles is good for my back. I can do it with or without music.' ''By the Sword and the Cross'' has a follow up called ''Charlemagne: The Omens of Death'', with a preview released on on May 27, 2012 (Sir Christopher's 90th birthday) and the full album was released on May 27, 2013. The release of his Charlemagne musical marks Christopher Lee as the oldest musician in the history of the metal genre. On his 92nd birthday, he released another album ''Metal Knight'' that uses metal covers of other songs to tell a story.

He was born on the same day as Creator/VincentPrice, and Creator/PeterCushing was born the day before. Pretty... spooky. He was [[KnightFever knighted]] on October 31, 2009 (that's right folks, Halloween). While this does not make him more excellent per se, it was most assuredly long overdue. Everyone, please say, Sir Christopher Lee.

It is interesting to note that, despite his long and illustrious career, Lee has never even been ''nominated'' for an Oscar, but [[TakeThat that reflects more on the Academy than him]]. He has, however, won the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2Od_8xyDLI 2011 BAFTA Fellowship.]] He is also as of this writing the most prolific film actor ''ever'', having appeared in 274 different works.
Other facts:
* Count Magnus Lee, the villain of the first ''VampireHunterD'' novel and movie, was named after him.
* He also acts as the wizard Iras Algor, in ''RhapsodyOfFire'''s epic ''The Dark Secret'' saga.
* He was an uncredited stunt driver in ''Film/TheManWithTheGoldenGun''. In addition to playing the title role.
* He is an [[MasterSwordsman expert fencer]], and has appeared in more swashbuckling films than any other actor - almost invariably as the villain. But then...
* The Guinness Book of World Records listed him as the world's "Tallest Leading Actor" at 6'5". He's lost a bit of that height to old age, and is now second to Creator/VinceVaughn. StephenFry takes the bronze at 6'4".
* An awesome CunningLinguist, Lee is fluent in English, Italian, French, Spanish and German, "moderately proficient" in Swedish, Russian and Greek, and "conversational" in Mandarin Chinese. He's even said to speak [[BlackSpeech the dark tongue of Mordor]].
* As of September 2012, Christopher Lee is one of the most prolific actors in history, having appeared in more films than any other person in the world, living or dead, except probably {{Creator/John Carradine}}. (IMDB lists about 275 acting credits.) The man's been an actor for most of his life and is 92 years old. As a result, according to the Oracle of Bacon it is he, and ''not'' Creator/KevinBacon, who is the true center of the Hollywood Universe. Despite this fact, the trope-related attribute is ''still'' named the [[SixDegreesOfKevinBacon Bacon Number]] and not the Lee Number. Having said that, Lee Number [[InherentlyFunnyWords just doesn't sound as funny as Bacon Number,]] so this is excusable.
* He is a direct descendant of Charlemagne. Hence the metal album.[[note]]Actually, it's likely that [[ReallyGetsAround most of Europe]] is descended from Charlemagne, but unlike most of Europe, Sir Christopher has the documentation to prove it.[[/note]] He is also a distant relative of Robert E. Lee.
* When he arrived on the set of ''Gremlins 2'', he apologized to director Joe Dante for appearing in ''The Howling II'', a bad sequel to Dante's original ''[[TheHowling Howling]]''.
* Was asked to play Doctor Loomis in the original ''Film/{{Halloween 1978}}'', but turned down the offer. Has subsequently stated he deeply regrets this.
* Turned down the role of Dr. Harry Rumack in ''Film/{{Airplane}}'', something which he also regrets.
* His [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE_1ofnBFos favorite role]] (note, ''Role'', not ''Movie'') is that of [[TimeShiftedActor (The elder)]] Muhammed Ali Jinnah (The Founder of Pakistan) in the {{Biopic}} ''Jinnah''. Watch it [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7xc5vZd3_c here.]] It's an awesome film, and a pretty good POVSequel to ''Film/{{Gandhi}}''.
* It may not be his ''favourite'' Movie, but he did everything in his power to promote ''TheWickerMan'', offering to pay the ticket price for critics to get them to review it, and touring the US in an effort to get people to go and see it.
His works include:

[[AC: Film - Live-Action]]

* ''Film/TheCurseOfFrankenstein'' (1957) -- [[FrankensteinsMonster The Creature]]
* ''Film/HorrorOfDracula'' (1958) -- His debut as the eponymous count.
* ''[[Film/TheMummy1959 The Mummy]]'' (1959) -- Kharis, the mummy.
* ''Literature/TheHoundOfTheBaskervilles'' (1959) -- Sir Henry Baskerville
* ''[[Film/EdgarWallaceFilms The Daffodil Mystery]]'' (1961) -- Lin Chu, to be mentioned that he played the same role in the german as in the english version of the film, produced simultaneously.
* ''[[Film/EdgarWallaceFilms The Puzzle of the Red Orchid]]'' (1962) -- Captain Allerman, as in The Daffodil Mystery, he played in this german Edgar Wallace film.
* ''Film/TheGorgon'' (1964) -- Professor Meister
* ''Film/DraculaPrinceOfDarkness'' (1966) -- Dracula
* ''Film/RasputinTheMadMonk'' (1966) -- Rasputin
* ''Film/TasteTheBloodOfDracula'' (1970) -- Dracula
* ''Film/ScarsOfDracula'' (1970) -- Dracula
* ''Film/ThePrivateLifeOfSherlockHolmes'' (1970) -- Mycroft Holmes
* ''Film/DraculaAD1972'' (1972) -- Dracula
* ''Film/TheWickerMan'' (1973) -- Lord Summerisle
* ''Film/TheThreeMusketeers1973'' and ''The Four Musketeers'' (1974) -- Rochefort
* ''Film/TheSatanicRitesOfDracula'' (1973) -- His last appearance as Dracula
* ''Film/TheManWithTheGoldenGun'' (1974) -- Francisco Scaramanga, the [=titular=] villain
* ''[[Film/NineteenFortyOne 1941]]'' (1979) -- Capt. Wolfgang von Kleinschmidt
* ''Film/TheReturnOfCaptainInvincible'' (1983) -- Mr. Midnight. According to his autobiography, he took the role specifically because it would give him the opportunity to [[TheCastShowOff show off his musical talents]] in a film - and he ended up being one of only two of the major actors in the film to do his own singing.
* ''[[TheHowling Howling II]]'' (1985) -- Stefan Crosscoe
* ''The Disputation'' (1986) -- King James of Aragon
* ''[[Film/TreasureIsland1990 Treasure Island]]'' (1990) -- Blind Pew
* ''Film/Gremlins2TheNewBatch'' (1990) -- Dr. Catheter
* ''Film/FunnyMan'' (1994) -- Chance Callum
* ''[[Film/PoliceAcademy Police Academy: Mission to Moscow]]'' (1994) -- Cmndt. Alexandrei Nikolaivich Rakov
* ''Jinnah'' (1998) -- Mohammed Ali Jinnah
* ''Film/SleepyHollow'' (1999) -- Burgomaster
* ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings Trilogy'' (2001 - 2003) -- Saruman the White
* ''Franchise/StarWars: Film/AttackOfTheClones'' (2002) and ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith'' (2005) -- Count Dooku
* ''[[Film/TheCrimsonRivers Crimson Rivers 2: Angels of the Apocalypse]]'' (2004) -- Heinrich von Garten
* ''Film/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'' (2005) -- Dr. Wilbur Wonka
* ''WesternAnimation/CorpseBride'' (2005) -- Pastor Galswells
* ''Film/TheGoldenCompass'' (2007) -- First High Councilor
* ''Film/{{Triage}}'' (2009) -- Joaquín Morales, he has said this would be his last major role due to age
* ''Film/AliceInWonderland'' (2010) -- Jabberwocky
* ''Film/BurkeAndHare'' (2010) -- Old Joseph
* ''Film/SeasonOfTheWitch'' (2011) -- Cardinal D'Ambroise
* ''The Resident'' (2011) -- August, this was the first movie produced by the newly-revived [[HammerHorror Hammer Films]].
* ''Film/{{Hugo}}'' (2011) -- Monsieur Labisse
* ''Film/TheHobbit Trilogy'' (2012 - 2014) -- Saruman the White

[[AC:Live-Action Television]]

* He is the traditional voice actor for [-DEATH-] in ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' adaptations including Sky One's ''Discworld/TheColourOfMagic'', but not ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}'' (which had the late Ian Richardson, who did a great job as well).
* Appeared in a miniseries adaptation of ''Ivanhoe'' as Lucas de Beaumanoir.
* Played the wandering wizard Olwyn in ''The New Adventures of Robin Hood''.
* He played Flay in the BBC miniseries adaptation of ''Gormenghast''.
* In 2000 at least he has played ''M.R. James'' in a series of televised recreations of James's Christmas Eve recitals of Ghost Stories.


* He has lent his voice as [=DiZ=] [[spoiler:aka Ansem the Wise]] to ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' and its follow-up ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2''. Creator/CoreyBurton plays him in [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories all]] [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep other]] [[VideoGame/KingdomHearts3DDreamDropDistance appearances]], and even dubbed over Lee's lines for the UpdatedRerelease of ''Days.''
* Reprised his role of Scaramanga for ''VideoGame/GoldeneyeRogueAgent''
* He provided the voice for Overlord Lucan D'Lere in ''Videogame/EverQuestII''
* The two sampled songs from ''[[Music/{{Charlemagne}} Charlemagne: the Omens of Death]]'', "Let Legend Mark Me as the King" and "The Ultimate Sacrifice", are available on ''VideoGame/RockBand'' and ''VideoGame/RockBandBlitz''.


* He voiced King Haggard in ''WesternAnimation/TheLastUnicorn'' (1982), and was in fact a fan of [[Literature/TheLastUnicorn the book]], showing up to his recording sessions with a copy full of marked sections that he felt could not be cut under any circumstances. He also dubbed his own voice for the German version, and has said he would happily reprise the role for a live-action version that's been stuck in DevelopmentHell for some time.
* In the german version fo the danish animation Valhalla (based on the [[ComicBook/{{Valhalla}} comic of the same name]]) he dubbed the voices for Thor and Odin.
* He also played [-DEATH-] in the ''Welcome to Discworld'' short and in the {{Animated Adaptation}}s of ''Discworld/SoulMusic'' and ''Discworld/WyrdSisters''.
* ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'' is a [[AllCGICartoon CGI TV series]] that takes place between ''Film/AttackOfTheClones'' and ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith''. The [[FiveEpisodePilot first episodes]] were of such high quality that, after praise by Creator/GeorgeLucas, [[CompilationMovie they were edited together and released theatrically]]. The character of Count Dooku [[TheOtherDarrin is voiced by]] Creator/CoreyBurton in the series, but when it was decided to release the movie in theaters Christopher Lee returned to record the role.

* He has been the narrator on several ''RhapsodyOfFire's'' songs, and he even sings in ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZDc0js-m2Q The Magic of the Wizard's Dream]]''. ''[[{{Omniglot}} In four different languages]]'' This amount of awesome cannot be made up!
* He's now narrating Manowar's next album.
* His symphonic metal album ''[[Music/{{Charlemagne}} Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross]]'' featured a full voice cast, ''two'' metal bands (Manowar and RhapsodyOfFire), and ''a 100 piece orchestra''. ''[[CrowningMusicOfAwesome And it is glorious]]''.
** Listen to [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5HZOemIcys this]] and see if you can sit still (i.e. no bouncing, conducting, head-banging, jamming, singing) - [[EarWorm He shed the blood of four thousand Saxon men!]]
** The follow-up, ''Charlemagne: the Omens of Death'', is full-blown HeavyMetal, with music by [[Music/JudasPriest Richie Faulkner]].
* He has also had several speaking and singing parts in ''At Dawn in Rivendell'' and ''Leaving Rivendell'': two albums collecting various poems and songs from Tolkien's ''Literature/LordOfTheRings'' trilogy. Calling him an AscendedFanboy doesn't even come close.
* He was the narrator on Bob Johnson and Peter Knight's[[note]]formerly of Steeleye Span[[/note]] rock opera version of ''TheKingOfElflandsDaughter''; he also played the King.

!! Tropes associated with Christopher Lee
* {{Badass}}: The guy was a member of the SOE during WorldWar2. On the set of ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'', he was able to describe the exact sound a guy made when stabbed, because this is something he's actually done.
* ChronicallyKilledActor: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dr-GMvJ4sZY Yup]]. A side effect of being cast as so many villains. His autobiography talks about his kids watching TV and playing a guessing game called "How will Daddy die this time?"
* CoolOldGuy: "Utterly {{Badass}} Old Guy", more like.
* EvilBrit: Plays this role several times.
* EvilIsBigger: It's easier to get villainous roles when you're 6'5" (1.96 m).
* EvilIsHammy[=/=]LargeHam: He can certainly be bombastic when the role calls for it.
* EvilSoundsDeep: Definitely.
* MeanCharacterNiceActor: A well-spoken and consummate gentleman who's played some of the most memorable villains in movie history.
** Of some of the more questionable roles he took in the HammerHorror films, he claims that he was usually guilt-tripped into accepting, as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Lee#1957.E2.80.931976:_Work_with_Hammer the agent contacting him would mention all the cast and crew that were on-board already and relying on him for their paychecks]].
* NinjaPirateZombieRobot: [[Film/HorrorOfDracula Vampire]] [[Franchise/StarWars Sith Lord]] [[Film/TheLordOfTheRings Dark Wizard]] [[Film/TheWickerMan Pagan Cult Leader]] [[Film/TheManWithTheGoldenGun Bond Villain]] [[HeavyMithril Metalhead]] [[RealLife Nazi stabbing knight]]!
* {{Omniglot}}: As mentioned above, he is fluent in English, French, Italian, Spanish, and German; has proficiency in Swedish, Russian, Finnish, and Greek; and is at least conversational in languages as varied as Afrikaans, Zulu, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and Swahili!
* PlaysGreatEthnics: Early in his career he had trouble finding roles as Englishmen because casting directors thought his Italian heritage made him look too "foreign". As a result, he's played Germans, Italians, French, Arabs, Chinese...it's probably easier to mention ethnicities he ''hasn't'' played.
* SturgeonsLaw: Yeah, about that being the most prolific film actor ever? An awful lot of it is awful crap [[OldShame even he would advise you not to watch.]]
* ThoseTwoActors: He worked with Creator/PeterCushing in an astonishing ''twenty-two movies together.'' Their first two films were ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'' (1948) and ''Moulin Rouge'' (1952), two major Class-A productions where they both had minor roles where their characters never met. Then they co-starred in ''Film/TheCurseOfFrankenstein'' (Cushing was Frankenstein, Lee was the Monster) and a beautiful partnership, and friendship, was made.
** He also had a very healthy working relationship with director Terence Young, who gave Lee his first acting role (in the 1948 film ''Corridor of Mirrors'') and directed him in several other small-to-medium sized roles before Lee received his big break in ''Film/TheCurseOfFrankenstein'' and ''Film/HorrorOfDracula''.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen:
** He was supposed to play Dr. No in the [[Film/DrNo film of the same name]] but the filmmakers chose Joseph Wiseman instead.
** He was also offered Leslie Nielsen's role in ''Film/{{Airplane}}'', but turned it down because he had trouble understanding the script.
** Both Lee and Creator/PeterCushing were offered the role of Dr. Loomis in ''Film/{{Halloween 1978}}''. Lee has since said that turning down the role was one of the worst mistakes he's made in his career.
* WickedCultured: Many of his characters.