Christopher Lee Fast Facts

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

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.

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

- 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"