Christopher Lee Dies at 93; Actor Breathed Life Into …

Exactly 30 years later, he had become so well known in the United States that he was asked to host Saturday Night Live. He declined to play Dracula in a sketch, but he did appear as Mr. Death, a cultured gentleman in a black hooded robe carrying a scythe. In the part, he comes to apologize to a little girl (Laraine Newman) for taking her dog, Tippy. Mr. Death refuses to take the blame for the crucifixion of Jesus, however (No, the Romans did that), and, alluding to the mortality tale The Seventh Seal, mentions in passing that Ingmar Bergman makes movies Ill never understand.

Mr. Lee lived in Switzerland and in California for many years before returning to his native England. He was made a Commander of the British Empire in 2001, knighted by Prince Charles in 2009 and made a Commandeur de lOrdre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 2011.

In the 1990s, he embarked on a singing career with concerts and recordings, including arias, show tunes and, in 2010, what he characterized as symphonic metal with the album Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross. A follow-up album, Charlemagne: The Omens of Death, was released in 2013. Mr. Lee had hoped to study at the Royal College of Music but was rejected, in his 30s, as too old.

Mr. Lee continued acting into his 90s. In 2012, when he turned 90, he appeared in Tim Burtons Dark Shadows and the first of Peter Jacksons Lord of the Rings prequels, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, reprising his role as Saruman. He played Saruman again in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the third Hobbit movie.

In 1961, Mr. Lee married Birgit Kroencke, a model who later acted under the name Gitte Lee. They had a daughter, Christina.

Mr. Lee often said that he identified with Count Dracula, because they were both embarrassments to an aristocratic family. In Lord of Misrule, he expressed sympathy for his famous horror characters.

In my mind Dracula, the Mummy and Frankensteins monster are driven figures, unable to help themselves, eventually out of control like a runaway train, he wrote, and consequently very much alone.

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Christopher Lee Dies at 93; Actor Breathed Life Into ...

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