Last week, we marked the passing of an extraordinary man and actor in Sir Christopher Lee. Because of who he was and what he did for a living, a lot of his life was known. Instead of being sad, let’s take a look at how incredible he was while here with us.
Sir Christopher Lee saw the death of the murderer Eugen Weidmann in Paris when he was 17. Eugen Weidmann was the last person in France to be publicly executed via guillotine. He was found guilty of several deaths, which he confessed to after being arrested, and sentenced to death. Who else can say that they witness a piece of history as amazing as this? And gross, don’t forget gross.
It’s actually rather fascinating, they simply walk Weidmann out of the building to the small guillotine that looks to be on the sidewalk, put him in there and whoosh! It’s over rather quickly and it’s not as… spray and gore as you’d think. Should you be interested, the scene was shot from two angles, and both are on YouTube, here and here.
Moving on, Sir Christopher Lee has been in oodles of movies, shows and the like. Did you know that in 2007, he was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for it? Yup, for most screen credits. At that point, he was at 244. Since then, he’s made 14 more, with a 15th that hasn’t been released yet, but has already been completed. He’s also the tallest leading actor (6 foot 7 inches) and has the most movies that involved a sword fight (17).
We all know that he played an awesome Saruman in Lord of the Rings. He was also a huge Tolken fan, and read the series’s once a year for most of his life. He was the only one in the cast who’d met the author in person, having run into him in a pub once. He actually got Tolken’s blessing to play Gandolf in any future movie adaptations.
Okay, this is awesome: “During his death scene in Return of the King, director Peter Jackson was describing to him what sound people getting stabbed in the back should make. Lee gravely responded that he had seen people being stabbed in the back, and knew exactly what sound they made.”
A peek into his younger days, before acting will reveal that yes, that is probably true. The amount of things he’d accomplished by the time he decided to try out acting at age 25 are amazing. His work during World War 2 is staggering and so interesting to read, although there isn’t much detail due to its nature.
He sang heavy metal in his later years (like, the last few years). His first album was released in 2010, when he was 88. He’s also won awards for it. He also sung opera. And spoke 6 languages. And received The Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1994, was made a Commander of the Venerable Order of Saint John in 1997, a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2009, a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government in 2011 and earned a British Academy of Film and Television Arts Fellowship in 2011. And that’s not all of it.
He lived a long, varied life and definitely left is mark on this world and touched many people. His presence will sorely be missed. Rest In Peace, Sir Christopher Lee.