Horror Movie Icon Christopher Lee Dies At 93

Photo: REX USA
Iconic horror movie actor and legendary James Bond villain, Sir Christopher Lee, has passed away at the age of 93, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Perhaps most well-known for his groundbreaking performances as Count Dracula and the Frankenstein monster, Lee died this past Sunday, June 7 at Westminster Hospital in London, where he was admitted for respiratory problems and heart failure. His wife, former Danish model and painter Gitte Kroencke, waited a few days to publicly share the news in order to inform family members first.

Credited with "help[ing] Hammer Films bring the genre of horror back to life" in the late 1950s, the prolific actor played the original, pre-Twilight-era-vampire 10 times, but "disliked being known as a 'horror legend.'" So after fighting Roger Moore's James Bond in The Man With the Golden Gun in 1974, Lee reinvented himself with the recurring roles in the Lord of the Rings, Hobbit and Star Wars franchises. These films introduced him to another generation of movie-lovers.

In just the past couple decades, Lee, who was knighted in 2009 and amazingly has more than 275 credits on IMDb, graced the silver screen as Saruman the White in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and two Hobbit movies, played Count Dooku in Star Wars films Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith and The Clone Wars, and made four films with director/fan Tim Burton, including Sleepy Hollow and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And he was proud of his later-in-life work, telling Forbes in a 2012 interview that "This last decade has been the most extraordinary decade of my life."

Born on May 27, 1922, Lee attended Eton College and Wellington College, where he studied Greek and Latin, served in the Royal Air Force and Special Forces during World War II, and was rumored to be a spy "but never wanted to talk about it, honoring an oath of secrecy," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Our thoughts are with Lee's family and friends during this sad time. And should you want to honor the icon with a horror movie marathon, we humbly suggest these 20 female-centric films that surely owe much to Lee's prior contributions to the genre.

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