Christopher Lee has made his mark in horror films with the Hammer movies, sci-fi with Star Wars, and fantasy with the Lord of the Rings series. The man is currently 91 years old, and while he may not be as spry as when he played Dracula back in the late fifties, he’s still actively performing, which is truly remarkable.
It’s great to see directors like George Lucas, Peter Jackson and Tim Burton using Lee in their movies, and now he’s being honored by the British Film Institute, which will award Lee a fellowship for a lifetime of great work. As Deadline reminds us, the BFI Fellowship is the highest honor the Film Institute can grant, and for Lee it’s very well deserved.
Like Peter Cushing, Lee had great aspirations as an actor when he was starting out, but it was hard for him to get work because of his height (6’5). He took on playing the monster in Curse of Frankenstein because he wouldn’t be recognizable under all that make-up, but that film, and the Horror of Dracula, made him a star.
The Hammer Films were always a cut above, and while Lee has primarily been known as a horror star, we all know he’s a fine actor no matter what genre he works in. Like Boris Karloff, Lee’s been very grateful that the monsters he’s played gave him a long career, and it’s great to still have him with us after all this time.