Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Tall, Dark and Gruesome

On June 7, 2015, Sir Christopher Lee died at the age of 93. Many people associate Lee with Dracula because he played the character in 10 different movies, but Lee's acting career was long and he played everything from Frankenstein's monster to Saruman in The Hobbit. Tim Burton loved to put him in his films as well and he had roles in Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland, and Dark Shadows among others. My favorite Christopher Lee movie is The Wicker Man. I'll bet you've seen Lee in more movies than you realize. Take a look at his filmography sometime.

Lee was raised in a well-to-do family. He was educated in boarding schools and spoke several languages. His first acting role came at the age of 26. He had already had a military career by that point and at the end of World War II was looking for something to do. He had small roles in many movies, but it wasn't until he was 36 years old that he first played Dracula.

Right before Lee's death, he was preparing for a role in a Danish film about the 9/11 attack. I could go on and on because Lee is fascinating. Instead, I'm going to suggest that we all read Lee's biography Tall, Dark, and Gruesome that he published in 1999. If you want a shortened version, I suggest an obituary (I'm a sucker for The New York Times obituaries) or the Wikipedia article on Lee. I have a feeling once you read those you're going to want to read the biography anyway.

Did you know that Lee had a career in metal music too?! Sir Christopher Lee would be someone I'd want to sit next to at a dinner party.

By the way, if you haven't watched The Wicker Man (the original, of course), I suggest you do that right away. It's the perfect summer movie.

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