June 11, 2015

R.I.P. Christopher Lee (1922-2015)

The words "Legend" and "Icon" get thrown around far too often in reference to celebrities. When it comes to Sir Christopher Lee however, he's earned those titles, and then some.

In his personal life: He fought for both Finland and Britain during WWII. After the war ended, he hunted Nazi War Criminals.  He released multiple Heavy Metal albums, two of them being Christmas themed (and he did this well into his 90's.) He was Ian Flemming's cousin. He was related to Robert E. Lee. He was a descendant of Charlemagne. He was fluent in six languages. He was knighted by the crown.

On screen, he became one of the most iconic actors of the 20th century: He was Dracula. He was a Bond Villain. He was a Sith. He was Saruman. He was Sherlock Holmes. He was Lord Summerisle. He was in more than 280 movies, 20 of them with his best friend, Peter Cushing.

He was the last of the great Gothic Horror Icons, and now he is gone. 

Most people probably know him for his portrayal of Saruman The White in the Lord of the Rings movies, and there's nothing wrong with that at all, but for us, he will always be the guy who warped our fragile little minds as children. The Hammer Films of the 60's and 70's were some of the very first bits of Horror that we were ever exposed to, and Lee's Dracula was one of the very first movie images that gave us nightmares.

He lived the lives of both a hero and a rockstar, quite literally, and above all else, he seemed like an awesome guy in general. He loved movies, and he loved making them for folks like us who needed an escape from reality:  

"We all love to dream. We don’t live in a particularly attractive world. I don’t really remember, except as a small boy, anything but a pretty grim world. I’m old enough to have seen Hitler in the flesh. I’m old enough to have been in Munich in 1934, on the night of the long knives, when Hitler butchered so many of his own people. I’m old enough to remember the Second World War and all the other things. So I’m not being a Cassandra, who prophesied nothing but evil and misery; I’m simply facing reality. So, yes, let us not lose faith, let us be optimistic, let us believe in the good things, but we still have to face the world as it is. When you live in a world like that, what do you want? 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."

With his passing, it feels like an era has passed along with him. We hope that wherever he is now, he's with his old friends, and most of all, we hope that he is at peace.

Rest in peace, good sir, and thank you for everything. Sincerely.

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