Christopher Lee Fast Facts

1968:  Christopher Lee as Dracula, from the film 'Dracula Has Risen From The Grave', directed by Freddie Francis for Hammer.  (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Here's an in-depth look at British actor Christopher Lee's life.

Personal:
Birth date:
May 27, 1922

Birthplace: London, England

Birth name: Christopher Frank Carandini Lee

Father: Geoffrey Lee, a professional soldier

Mother: Contessa Estelle Marie Carandini di Sarzano

Marriage: Birgit "Gitte" Kroencke Lee (March 17, 1961 - present)

    Children: Christina Ericka, November 23, 1963

    Military Service: Royal Air Force and Special Forces, 1941-1946, Flight Lieutenant

    Other Facts:
    Speaks four languages: French, Italian, Spanish, and German.

    Worked with British Intelligence in World War II.

    Only member of the cast of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy who met author J.R.R. Tolkien.

    Lee is a distant relative by his mother's second marriage, to Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond.

    Timeline:
    1939-1941
    - Works as an office clerk until joining the RAF during World War II.

    1947 - Joins the Rank Organization acting school, often called "The Charm School," a British program that groomed new acting talent.

    1948 - First movie "Corridor of Mirrors" is released.

    1957 - Begins working with Hammer Film Productions, the start of his horror film career. "The Curse of Frankenstein" is released that same year.

    1958 - "Horror of Dracula" is released, the first time Lee portrays Count Dracula.

    1965 - The first of Dr. Fu Manchu movies, "The Face of Fu Manchu," is released.

    1974 - Appears as James Bond's nemesis in "The Man with the Golden Gun".

    1977 - His autobiography, "Tall, Dark and Gruesome," is published.

    2001 - In recognition of his contributions to film, he receives the Commander of the Order of the British Empire award.

    2002 - Stars in two of the year's top grossing movies, "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers."

    2003 - His autobiography is re-released with a new title, "Lord of Misrule: The Autobiography of Christopher Lee."

    2009 - Is made a Knight of the British Empire.

    February 2011 - Receives the Academy Fellowship, the highest honor, at the Orange British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA).

    2012 - Reprises his role as Saruman from "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy in part one of "The Hobbit" trilogy, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

    May 27, 2013 - Releases his "100 percent heavy metal" album, "Charlemagne: The Omens of Death", a follow-up to the more symphonic "Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross from 2010.

    December 2013 - Releases a second heavy metal Christmas album, "A Heavy Metal Christmas Too," a follow-up to his 2012 "A Heavy Metal Christmas"