Christopher Lee: He Did It His Way


As deaths go, it’s hard to be too sad about a man who became an icon, lived to the age of 93, and achieved pretty much everything one could hope in the field. Yet perhaps because of all he did, we got the sense that Christopher Lee would live forever.

Most actors are lucky if they tap into one iconic role that is remembered – James Bond, perhaps, or Mr. Spock. Lee was Dracula, he was Saruman, he was Count Dooku, he was Fu Manchu, he was Sherlock Holmes, and long after most people have given up on life, he was recording heavy metal songs about Charlemagne and Christmas. This was the man who matter-of-factly told Peter Jackson that he wasn’t getting the sound of people being stabbed quite correct, and he knew because he’d done it to German soldiers.

I remember wanting George Lucas to hurry up and finish the Star Wars prequels to ensure Lee would stay alive for them. Not only did he, but he then went on to make the whole Hobbit trilogy. He got away with playing a guy named “Dooku” and not making him seem silly; “It may be difficult to secure your release” is still one of the best lines of Lucas-penned dialogue thanks to his delivery of it.

He also stayed married for 53 years. I can’t think of many actors at his level of success who can say that.

Nobody could encapsulate everything he did in one piece. That I own multiple plastic versions of him says much in itself, though I think his own words – or rather Paul Anka’s, as delivered by him – are as good a way to send him off as any…