I had an unpleasant shock today when I logged onto the internet this morning. I saw a small article – almost hidden in the corner – that was titled: “Christopher Lee, Legendary Movie Villain and Horror Icon, Dies at 93.”
And a small part of me died inside.
Many people today know Christopher Lee from either his role as Saruman in The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy or as Count Dooku/Darth Tyrannus in the newer Star Wars trilogy. To be sure, Lee’s performances in these two roles were what introduced me to the English actor, but few people know about his other accomplishments. With Lee’s death we’ve lost not only an amazing actor, but an incredible man.
For starters, Lee has over 200 screen credits to his name, including such iconic roles as Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Scaramanga, Frankenstein, Saruman, and Count Dooku. The man personally met J.R.R. Tolkien and was an authority on Tolkien’s world of Middle-Earth. He was an expert fencer, a consummate stuntman in addition to his acting roles, a skilled golfer, and a heavy metal musician.
Finally, it might surprise most people to know he was a member of the Royal Air Force during World War II. He was decorated for distinguished service after a brutal winter campaign in Finland, where he served in the Special Forces. There are even rumors that he served as a spy. Lee never confirmed or denied these rumors.
If you’ve got time in your busy schedules, I recommend spending some time learning about this fascinating icon. Few people live such full lives. What you learn may serve as inspiration. I know it has for me.