Christopher Lee, a descendant of Emperor Charlemagne, is known to movie fans as one of the most prolific actors to ever live. He’s a man who played some of the most iconic characters in the biggest franchises of all time, from a legendary and long stint as Dracula in the Hammer Films movies to joining the James Bond franchise as a (controversial) villain. That’s all on top of his memorable roles in both the “Star Wars” and “Lord of the Rings” movies.
This last one is important because Lee famously schooled Peter Jackson on the noise a person makes when getting stabbed in the back in the scene where Saruman dies in “The Return of the King.” He knew that from his experience as a soldier serving in the Royal Air Force during World War II; between 1943 and 1945, he operated as an RAF liaison officer attached to the Special Air Service, as well as the Special Operations Executive.
As Lee told The Telegraph in 2011, “Let’s just say I was in Special Forces and leave it at that. People can read into that what they like.” Lee never really talked specifics about his wartime career, and he certainly didn’t discourage the public from embellishing his past (think a much cooler British version of Chuck Norris jokes). Still, what could be more fitting for the man who played Dracula? Granted, he didn’t serve as a fully-fledged operative of the SOE, but the fact that he still worked with them in any capacity is still impressive.
And if his acting and military careers weren’t enough, Lee was also a rather good singer, releasing four heavy metal albums well into his 90s.
“The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” opens in theaters on April 19, 2024.