12 June 2015 - Christopher Lee dies at 93
Christopher Lee Dies at 93; Actor Breathed Life Into Nightmarish Villains
Anita Gates (The New York Times)
Christopher Lee, the physically towering British movie actor who lent his distinguished good looks, Shakespearean voice and aristocratic presence to a gallery of villains, from a seductive Count Dracula to a dreaded wizard in “The Lord of the Rings,” died on Sunday in London. He was 93.
An official for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London confirmed the death, The Associated Press reported.
Mr. Lee was 35 when his breakthrough film, Terence Fisher’s British horror movie “The Curse of Frankenstein,” was released in 1957. He played the creature. But it was a year later, when he played the title role in Mr. Fisher’s “Dracula,” that his cinematic identity became forever associated with Bram Stoker’s noble, ravenous vampire, who in Mr. Lee’s characterization exuded a certain lascivious sex appeal.
Staff (The Independent)
Christopher Lee was the last surviving member of a band of actors synonymous with the postwar revival in Gothic fantasy films. "The Crown Prince Of Terror" made an indelible mark in the minds of filmgoers of the 1950s and '60s with his powerful portrayals of such legendary characters as the Frankenstein creature, Count Dracula, the Mummy and Dr Fu Manchu.
Although appearing with such luminaries of the genre as Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, and John Carradine, it was his partnership with Peter Cushing in more than 20 films which ensured his place in the rank of screen immortals. Tall, dark-complexioned, and aloof, with a sepulchral voice that could lend conviction to even the most improbable lines ("The world shall hear from me again" – Fu Manchu), Lee became one of the world's most recognisable actors through his long association with Hammer Films, whose success began in 1956 with The Curse Of Frankenstein.
That film, together with Dracula two years later, reinvigorated the horror genre with its generous blend of sex, blood, and Technicolor.
Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian)
But when Lee’s Count Dracula first walked down to the stairs to greet his visitors in the first Hammer movie version it was a revelation. He was tall (six foot five), handsome and well-built, with an easy athleticism and a frank, direct manner. His deep, melodious voice completed the effect: commanding. There was nothing unwholesome-looking about this vampire, not at first: he looked more like a British or at any rate Central European version of Gary Cooper. So it was even more powerful and shocking when this patrician figure disclosed his Satanic qualities: and that face became pale and contorted, when the lips peeled back to reveal the fangs, the eyes turned red and the lips dripped with blood — and his whole being oozed with forbidden sexuality. Christopher Lee was Dracula; he had taken over the character as clearly as Sean Connery took over James Bond.
Staff (BBC News)
One of the first to pay tribute was James Bond actor Roger Moore, who tweeted: "It's terribly [sad] when you lose an old friend, and Christopher Lee was one of my oldest. We first met in 1948."
His Lord Of The Rings co-star Dominic Monaghan said: "So, so sorry to hear that Christopher Lee has passed away. He was a fascinating person."
Sir Christopher also worked with director Tim Burton on five films including Sleepy Hollow (1999) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005). Burton described him as "an enormous inspiration".
George Lucas, who directed Sir Christopher in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, said: "Christopher was a great British actor of the old school. A true link to cinema's past and a real gentleman. We will miss him."
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"12 June 2015 - Christopher Lee dies at 93", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), décembre 2015. Consulté le 22/09/2023. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2015/12-june-2015-christopher-lee-dies-at-93