Famous Villain Actor Christopher Lee Dies at 93

Rob Weiner, pop culture expert at Texas Tech, said Lee’s career was shaped by audiences enjoying his villainous characters.

Pitch

Christopher Lee, the English actor best known for portraying villains, died Sunday (June 7) at the Chelsea and Westminister Hospital in London less than two weeks after celebrating his 93rd birthday. Lee starred as a number of famous villains, from Count Dracula in a sequence of Hammer Horror films to Saruman in the "Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" trilogies. Rob Weiner, pop culture expert at Texas Tech, said Lee's career was shaped by audiences enjoying his villainous characters.

Expert

Rob Weiner, librarian and pop culture expert, Texas Tech University Library, (806) 834-5126 or rob.weiner@ttu.edu

Quotes

• "Sir Christopher Lee had a career that spanned more than 7 decades, beginning with a fair amount of television in the early days."
• "Lee had a 20-year run with Hammer Films, beginning in the 1950s. During that time, he played everything from Frankenstein to Count Dracula and The Mummy. Hammer Films were low-budget but looked high-quality. They may not be scary to modern audiences, but they have good stories. The writing still stands up."
• "It wasn't until he was in his 70s himself that his career really took off. It's rare for an actor to have that kind of reawakening, but he simply loved working."
• "He played everything from Sherlock Holmes to villains in the 'Star Wars' and 'Lord of the Rings' trilogies."
• "Some might say Lee was typecast, but I think it was in a good way. People enjoyed him as a villain. It made his career."
• "In his 90s, Lee became a heavy metal star and recorded a number of albums, including a few Christmas albums. And oddly enough, they're quite good."
• "The world is a little less awesome without Sir Christopher Lee."