Top 10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Sir Christopher Lee

The Top Ten
1 He was a massive fan of heavy metal music and even released metal albums

He was a classically trained singer and started rocking out in metal bands in his 80s as a metal singer.

Did he made some good stuff?

2 He was a descendant of Charlemagne

The lineage of his mother, Countess Estelle Marie (née Carandini di Sarzano), can be traced to Charlemagne, the Frankish king. Lee's maternal great-grandfather was Italian.
Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great or Charles I, was King of the Franks. He united a large part of Europe during the early Middle Ages and laid the foundations for modern France, Germany and the Low Countries.

3 He once met the supposed assassins of Grigori Rasputin. Coincidence: later he played Rasputin in a movie

As a young boy, in the 1920s, his mother introduced him to Prince Yusupov and Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich. In 1966, Sir Christopher played their victim, Rasputin, in the movie Rasputin the Mad Monk.

4 He was the step-cousin of James Bond author Ian Fleming

That's just awesome!

5 Tolkien gave him his blessing to play Gandalf in any future Lord of the Rings movie

Unfortunately, Lee's advanced age and his natural ability to play villains made him an even better choice for Saruman.
But when he heard Peter Jackson would direct the films, he sent Jackson a personal letter asking to be in the movies, along with a picture of him dressed up as a wizard.

6 He volunteered for the Finnish army in 1939

At the outbreak of the Winter War in 1939, Sir Christopher volunteered for the Finnish forces before heading back to London and joining the RAF to fight the Nazis, becoming a distinguished flight lieutenant.

7 Lee had to get the blessing of the King of Sweden to marry Henriette von Rosen

In the '50s, Lee was engaged to Henriette von Rosen, daughter of Count Fritz von Rosen. The Count apparently didn't like Lee, because after hiring private detectives to investigate the actor and demanding references, he also refused to allow his daughter to marry him unless Lee got the blessing of the King of Sweden. Lee got it.

8 Christopher Lee was the only Lord of the Rings star to meet J.R.R. Tolkien
9 He witnessed the last execution by guillotine in France

Wow he's done everything.

10 While filming a swordfight, Errol Flynn accidentally cut Lee’s hand so badly his finger nearly came off, and permanently injured

Errol Flynn was drunk and this happened during the filming of The Dark Avengers in 1955.

The Contenders
11 He held several Guinness World Records

He was reputedly crowned with several world records:
- most connected actor (living). He connects to virtually any actor in 2.59 steps, beating Kevin Bacon.
- most films with a swordfight by an actor (17)
- tallest actor in a leading role (6' 5")
- most screen credits for a living actor (reached in 2007)
- oldest videogame voice actor (for his role in the Nintendo DS game "Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days")

12 In 2010 he was honoured with the Spirit of Metal award at the Metal Hammer Golden God awards ceremony, at the age of 87
13 He was multilingual

Sir Christopher was reputed to have spoken several languages including English, Italian, French, German and Spanish fluently, and a little Swedish, Russian, and Greek.

14 He was a fan of the macabre

This one might be self-evident given his career, but Sir Christopher was fascinated by public executions and reportedly, according to his friend Norman Lloyd, knew the name of every executioner in England from the 15th century onwards.

15 His 2013 song “Jingle Hell” hit the Billboard Hot Track list at number 22, making him the oldest artist to do so, at the age of 91

"Jingle Hell" is a metal cover of the known Xmas song.

16 Lee was a world champion fencer, an opera singer and was a hell of a golfer
17 According to his friend Norman Lloyd, Lee knew the name of every executioner in England from the 15th century onwards
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