Sir Christopher Lee was a man of many talents, one being the ability to bring a character to life on screen that both captivated audiences worldwide and left an unforgettable impression for generations of the past, present and those to surely come.
So, in celebration of Sir Christopher Lee’s birthday being May 27, the same day as of publishing this article, let’s remember some of his iconic characters left behind in pop culture that continue to entertain, move, and inspire millions around the world every single day.
Amongst the many iconic characters in pop culture that Lee played throughout his career was the one and only Sherlock Holmes, first starring as the titular character in 1962’s Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace, last playing the character in 1992.
Kharis In The Mummy (1959)
Although the image above shows a young Lee looking healthier than ever, the role itself mostly contained mass amounts of movie makeup and Egyptian-styled bandaging to turn him into the iconic monster, The Mummy.
Before Brendan Fraser and Tom Cruise faced off against their Mummy antagonists, the character Kharis was often used and seen in various adaptations of the original classic.
The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)
Bond, James Bond – well for Roger Moore that is – as Lee once again jamp into the villain seat for The Man With The Golden Gun, a classic Bond film where Lee stars as the titular antagonist who famously, you guessed it, has a golden gun and goes toe-to-toe with 007.
Wonka’s Dad In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Another iconic performance that many will remember to this day is that of Wilbur Wonka, father to Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, where he portrays the somewhat antagonist in the movie, but it later revealed to just be a typical converned parent who wants his son to look after his teeth.
However, his performance as the evil Dentist, at least in the perspective of Depp’s Wonka, came across as terrifying for most young viewers, potentially even making children scared of the dentist even more than they already were in the first place.
Rasputin the Mad Monk (1966)
Some may argue that Lee’s performance as the Russian mystic Rasputin gave Peter Jackson a better visualisation as to why he would fit the role of Saruman more than Gandalf, as he gives of an uncanny impression of the original Rasputin in Rasputin the Mad Monk, with long hair and almost longer beard, it’s easy to compare the look of this performance to Saruman in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
Rochefort In The Three Musketeers (1973)
Yet again, another villain role, as Lee played Rochefort in The Three Musketeers (1973), The Four Musketeers (1974) and The Return of the Musketeers (1989). One of the most beloved and famous tales of the last 100 years, with remakes upon remakes being made every decade to this day.
Lord Summerisle In The Wicker Man (1973)
Have you seen The Wicker Man? No, not the Nicolas Cage remake, the 1973 original starring Lee as the main antagonist Lord Summerisle, the ruler of the Summerisle Island that made an incredible impression on moviegoers for years to come.
However, the 2006 remake completely ignored the character and did not go down too well with Lee or the original director Robin Hardy.
Count Dooku In Star Wars
Not the first Count Lee played on screen, but definitely one that still gets talked about on a daily basis, somewhere, Count Dooku from George Lucas’ Star Wars prequel era, in both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, with his character being one of the more prominent baddies throughout the series.
Lee’s Dooku shares scenes with some of the most iconic Star Wars characters of all time, such as Yoda, Anakin Skywalker aka Darth Vader, Palpatine aka Darth Sidious, Obi-Wan Kenobi, among others – even getting to battle them with his villainous red lightsaber.
It would be villainous not to mention Lee’s portralal of another iconic Monster-related character, Count Dracula himself, as Lee starred as the blood-sucking king of vampires in the 1958 classic Dracula, directed by Terence Fisher, later playing the character various more times troughout several decades.
Saruman In The Lord of the Rings
Dracula, Count Dooku, Sherlock Holmes – these are only some of the many iconic performances that the late Sir Christopher Lee gifted with his take to the world, however, one that potentially stands out more than most, is Saruman from J. R. R. Tolkien’s world of Middle-earth in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
Lee was a huge fan of Tolkien’s original novels, and he even wanted to play Gandaf at first, however, Peter Jackson had eyes for him to play Saruman due to the fact that Lee had brought so much life and captivating performances through his villianous characters throughout his career – such as the many roles listed above.
In 27 May 1922, Christopher Lee was born, and after giting the world with many decades of various contributions, he passed in 7 June 2015 – gone, but never forgotten, thank you Sir Christopher Lee, thank you for everything.