Last year on this same date I celebrated the birthday of one of my favourite actors, Vincent Price. By some coincidence, today is also the birthday of another horror film veteran, Christopher Lee. (And if that's not amazing enough, his buddy and frequent film costar, Peter Cushing celebrated his birthday yesterday on May 26th!)
But today we honour Mr. Christopher Lee, whom I'm happy to see is still quite active an actor, having appeared in The Lord of the Rings films, as well as in the most recent Star Wars entries as Count Dooku. And as if that wasn't enough, he's done a couple of turns for his big fan, director Tim Burton, including playing Willy Wonka's dad in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I see from his IMDb page that he's also scheduled to play the Jabberwock in Tim Burton's upcoming Alice in Wonderland. I suspect that it will just be his voice that's heard in that role though, as I can't imagine him wearing a rubber dragon-like costume to play the part.
All of this film activity is particularly admirable when one considers that Mr. Lee will be turning 87 today. Where have the years all gone? He received his greatest fame, of course in all of those wonderful Hammer horror films of the late 50s/early 60s, including several star turns as Count Dracula. Frankly, it doesn't seem that long ago when Christopher Lee was starring opposite Roger Moore in the 1974 James Bond entry, The Man with the Golden Gun. It is his role in this film as the million dollars a hit assassin, Scaramanga, that inspired this caricature I drew of him a few days ago after watching the film again on DVD. What a great villain he makes, with that refined deep, rich voice of his - the perfect British cad! I wish I could find a YouTube clip from the film where he speaks, but you'll just have to settle instead for this non-verbal scene where Scaramanga menaces his mistress, played by the lovely Maud Adams:
However, if you would like to hear that deep baritone of his, here's a real oddity I came across in my search where Christopher Lee actually sings. I must admit, I have never heard of The Return of Captain Invincible until now but, after watching this bizarre clip, I have to somehow see this film!!