Sir Christopher Lee, a Prince of an Actor, R.I.P.

by John Fund

Chrisopher Lee’s acting — and singing — career spanned 65 years. He was a James Bond villain (The Man with the Golden Gun). He was Count Dooku in the Star Wars films. He was Saruman in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. He was Sherlock Holmes. He was a master of Hammer Studio B-horror films. He acted until just before his death this weekend at age 93, racking up a total of 270 film roles.

He had other talents. He bravely served his country during World War II as a spy in Europe. But he never talked about his exploits:

When people say to me, you know, were you in this? Were you in that? Did you work in this? Did you work in that? I always used to say “Can you keep a secret?” And they would say “Yes, yes” and I would say “So can I.”

He was a trained opera singer. He issued an album of Yuletide songs. He even issued his first heavy-metal album at the age of 90.

He was also a proud Conservative, who counted British Tory leaders such as Michael Howard and Iain Duncan Smith as personal friends. He once complained that “in Britain, any degree of success is met with envy and resentment.”

When it came to his own career, Lee’s success was sweeping enough to have in theory brought with it an ocean of envy. Except that he was such a gentleman that it’s difficult to find anyone who disliked him. All in all, a man who honored us and his profession with his manifold talents.

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