Today, May 27th, is the birthday of a great icon of film history, Christopher Lee!
Christopher Lee is a living legend of cinema.
He has appeared in more than 250 film and television productions, amongst which the best known are ” A Tale of Two Cities”, “Dracula”, “The Mummy”, “The Curse of Frankestein”, “The Wicker Man”, “The Hound of the Baskervilles”, “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes”, “The Three and The Four Musketeers”, “The Man with The Golden Gun”, Star Wars Episode II: The Attack of the Clones, Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and recently in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo and The Hobbit, directed again by Peter Jackson.
The directors for whom he has worked include John Huston, Raoul Walsh, Joseph Losey, George Marshall, Orson Welles, Nicholas Ray, Michael Powell, Edward Molinaro, Jerome Savary, Billy Wilder, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, Peter Jackson, Tim Burton, Martin Scorsese, John Landis, Alejandro Jodorowsky and Andrei Konchalovsky.
He has filmed in Russian, French, Italian, German, Spanish and has worked in numerous countries all over the world.
Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was born in Belgravia, London on 27th May 1922.
His father was a Colonel in the 60th King’s Royal Rifle Corps (originally the Royal Americans) and was decorated for gallantry in the Boer War and First World War.
He was also one of the greatest amateur sportsmen of his time.
His mother, Contessa Estelle Marie Carandini di Sarzano, was a noted Edwardian beauty and was painted by John Lavery, Oswald Birley and Olive Snell and sculpted by Clare Sheridan, a cousin of Winston Churchill.
The Carandini family is one of the oldest in Europe and traces itself back to the first century AD. It is believed to have had close connections with the Emperor Charlemagne and was granted the right to bear the coat of arms of the Holy Roman Empire by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. An ancestor, Cardinal Consalvi, was Papal Secretary of State at the time of Napoleon and is buried at the Pantheon in Rome next to the painter Raphael.
Christopher Lee was educated at Summer Fields preparatory school, took a scholarship at Eton College and Wellington College where he was a classical scholar in Greek and Latin.
Christopher Lee entered the film industry in 1947.
He has portrayed Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Scaramanga (one of the greatest Bond villains, along with the also extraordinary Robert Shaw), Fu Manchu, Kharis, the mummy, Saruman and so many and many more extraordinary characters.
He has three claims to fame as an actor. He is the only actor who has portrayed Sherlock Holmes and his brother Mycroft. He executed King Charles the First of England and King Louis the Sixteenth of France and he hold the World record for more sword fights in front of the camera than other actor in history. He also did all of his stunts and is an honorary member of three Stuntmen’s Unions.
He speaks French, Italian, Spanish and German and can “get along” in Swedish, Russian and Greek. His hobbies are travel, opera and golf.
He has received awards for his contribution to the cinema from the United States , France , Germany , Spain , Italy and Great Britain . He is a Commander Brother of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem , the world’s oldest order.
He was named by the French Government Officer of Arts and Letters and recently in 2009 he was knighted by Prince Charles and became Sir Christopher Lee.
Christopher Lee has an autobiography: “Tall, Dark and Gruesome”.
Trivia: Christopher Lee is listed in the Guinness Book of Movie Facts and Feats as being the international star with the most screen credits.
He had many role in Hammer classic horror films
Christopher Lee worked a lot with Peter Cushing.
Vincent Price and Christopher Lee were born on the same day (27th May) and Peter Cushing was born on the 26th.
He is of noble Italian ancestry on his mother’s side (Carandini).
He learned how to speak German by listening to Richard Wagner records.
Happy Birthday Sir Christopher Lee!!!