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Sir Christopher Lee died recently at the age of 93. Reading into his biography he had a fascinating life, from active service on World War 2, to his varied acting career.
I think what I remember most about him is what an unashamed fan of the fantasy genre has has been, especially in the decades where being so was considered the opposite of cool.
In this 2010 interview he nails that attraction of fantasy for many:
“You want to escape, to get out of this world from time to time, into another world, a magical world, an enchanted world, where things happen we dream about, a world of fairy stories and wizards. It is like the conjurer, the enchanter, or magician who says, “Look, nothing up my sleeve. When I do this, you will come into my enchanted world!” Dreaming, escaping, that is what we’re talking about. I firmly believe that is why this kind of film is so universally popular, and always will be, because people like to get into another world.”
He was a fan of Tolkien since reading the Lord of the Rings books as each was published, and therefore very well suited to the role of Saruman in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. As well as these, he did a host of films in decades past. For me it is his role of Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun that I remember next to Saruman. Two interesting villains, because you were never quite sure of their motivations, and Lee played them with an air of considering schemes and plans he central characters could never fathom.
We won’t see his like again.