Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, (27 May 1922 – 7 June 2015) was an English actor, author, and singer. With a career spanning nearly seven decades, Lee was well known for portraying villains, gaining recognition for appearing as Count Dracula in seven Hammer Horror films—ultimately playing the role nine times in total. His other film roles include Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), Count Dooku in the Star Wars films Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) and Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005), and Saruman in both the Lord of the Rings film trilogy (2001–2003) and the Hobbit film trilogy (2012–2014). Lee was knighted for services to drama and charity in 2009, received the BAFTA Fellowship in 2011, and received the BFI Fellowship in 2013. Lee credited three films "for bringing me to the fore" as an actor, A Tale of Two Cities (1958), in which he played the villainous marquis, and two horror films, The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), and Dracula (1958). He considered his best performance to be that of Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the biopic Jinnah (1998), and his best film to be the British cult film The Wicker Man (1973). He frequently appeared opposite his friend Peter Cushing in horror films, and late in his career had roles in five Tim Burton films.Prior to his acting career, Lee served in the Royal Air Force as an intelligence officer, attached to the No. 260 Squadron RAF as a liaison officer for the Special Operations Executive. Following his World War II service he retired from the RAF in 1946 with the rank of flight lieutenant. Always noted as an actor for his deep, strong voice, Lee was known for his singing ability, recording various opera and musical pieces between 1986 and 1998, and the symphonic metal album Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross in 2010, after having worked with several metal bands since 2005. The heavy metal follow-up Charlemagne: The Omens of Death was released on 27 May 2013, Lee's 91st birthday. He was honoured with the "Spirit of Hammer" award at the 2010 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards ceremony.
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