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Christopher Lee, ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Dracula’ Actor, Dies at 93

Christopher-Lee
Francois Durand, Getty Images

Christopher Lee, prolific film actor and sometime heavy metal singer, has died at 93.

Lee starred in many horror movies throughout the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, notably playing Dracula in no less than 10 releases. He also played Sherlock Holmes in several films and TV movies, Francisco Scaramonga in the Bond film The Man With the Golden Gun and Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man (the eerie original, not the laughable remake starring Nicolas “not the bees!” Cage).

In later years, Lee was best known as white-haired wizard Saruman in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit franchises. He also fought Yoda in his role as Count Dooku in two Star Wars installments, Episode II — Attack of the Clones and Episode III — Revenge of the Sith.

Among his many accomplishments, according to Loudwire, Lee was the oldest musician to chart on Billboard at 91 with his holiday jam “Jingle Hell.” The actor launched his fruitful metal career late in life, releasing his debut Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross in 2010. He also released an album of Broadway tunes in 1996.

BBC reports that Lee died on Sunday June 7 at Chelsea and Westminster hospital in London, after hospitalization for respiratory problems and heart failure. In 2009, Lee was knighted “for services to drama and charity,” and he received a Bafta fellowship in 2011.

As his Lord of the Rings costar Dominic Monaghan accurately tweeted in memoriam, Lee “was a fascinating person.” You can watch one of the late actor-singer’s colorful music videos, “The Bloody Verdict of Verden,” below.

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