Legendary British actor Christopher Lee has died at the age of 93 after being hospitalised for respiratory problems and heart failure, according to The Guardian.
Although the actor passed away at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London on Sunday morning, the news was withheld from the press due to his wife's desire to inform family members first.
The veteran actor, who is perhaps best known to local audiences for playing the titular role in Jamil Dehlavi's biopic of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, enjoyed a diverse career in films ranging from Dracula to The Wicker Tree to the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies.
Although his role as Dracula established him as a star, it was his later films that were some of the best of his career.
He became a franchise favourite, bagging roles in Star Wars (as Count Dooku) and The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (as Saruman).
He was also a frequent collaborator with Tim Burton, and his films like Alice in Wonderland and Sleepy Hollow were particularly well-received.
His favourite film, however, was Jinnah. “It is certainly the most important role I have ever played, because the responsibility on my shoulders was immense,” The Telegraph quotes him as saying.
Lee was knighted in 2009 for his contributions to acting, but also branched out into music in his later life.
His next film was to be The 11th, a 9/11 drama in which he was to star opposite Uma Thurman. It was due to start filming in November.
Tributes began to pour in as soon as the news broke.
Fans referenced the actor's stellar career in their tributes on Twitter:
The many faces of Lee: His five finest roles
1) Dracula (1958)
With his deep, commanding voice and six-foot, five-inch frame, Lee was the perfect choice for the role of Dracula and it made his career.
|Christopher Lee as Dracula. — Photo courtesy: Dailymail|
2) The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
A monster once again, Lee's gruesome visage in the Frankenstein reboot truly terrified audiences.
|Christopher Lee as Frankenstein|
3) The Wicker Man (1973)
As Lord Summerisle - a role he agreed to do for free.
|Christopher Lee as Lord Summerisle.|
4) The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)
Lee effortlessly translated the aristocratic bearings of Dracula into his turn as Sir Henry Baskerville.
5) Lord of the Rings
So popular was Lee as Saruman in Lord of the Rings that director Peter Jackson wrote in cameo roles for him in the first and third Hobbit films.
|Christopher Lee as Saruman|