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Sunday, 14 June 2015

RIP Christopher Lee (1922-2015)

Image Source: The Independent
A brief tribute to the 93-year-old thespian who brought characters like Dracula and Saruman to life with enviable ease.
It is with immense sadness that we must today (belatedly) report the passing of Christopher Lee, who died after a battle with heart problems on the morning of Sunday, June 7th.

What surely separated Lee from most other cinematic actors of his generation was the longevity of his time spent in the limelight of the film industry and indeed the esteem in which he was constantly held throughout his tenure as an A-list performer, regardless of the overall quality (or occasional lack thereof, though the merits of his own contributions were of course never in question) of the countless works in which he appeared.

To those averse to the realms of filmic fantasy and science-fiction, Lee's name mightn't immediately bring to mind many iconic performance. In that case, suffice to say that his performances in a wealth of best-selling motion pictures including The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Dracula, The Wicker Man, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, (Tim Burton's) Alice in Wonderland, Dark Shadows and several other esteemed works (of which there are far too many to even attempt to list in a single article) never failed to captivate the viewer, nor to ensure that once the late British actor graced our screen, our recollection of the scene in question would be primarily dominated by his influence upon proceedings.

For yours truly, this rightly revered icon will be best remembered for his oft-forgotten presence in Burton's divisive 2005 adaptation of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Charlie Factory, not least since while the piece of cinema in question was laden with generic constructs (largely as a result of the child-orientated tone of the source material), predictable plot twists and unnecessarily convoluted character arcs, Lee's performance as Wonka's strict yet ultimately compassionate father added a previously unprecedented layer of emotional depth to a screen translation which might otherwise have proven completely underwhelming. That this stunning turn represents but a singular example of the man's seemingly endless array of accomplished contributions to his industry is of course testament to his similarly infinite capabilities and therefore the degree to which he'll be (justifiably) missed in days and years to come, not only by his relatives - all of whom our thoughts are with in this period of immeasurable grief - but by the wealth of followers who Lee inspired over the course of the ninety-three years he spent in our company on this mortal plane.

We'll be fascinated as always to hear your thoughts on Lee's remarkably extensive filmography and indeed which of his performances proved most inspiring to our readers here or on the usual social networking forums (incidentally, head here to follow us on Facebook or here to follow our Twitter coverage of all of the latest developments in entertainment news). For now, though, join us in sending our very best wishes to the friends and family of Christopher as they strive to cherish the time they each spent in his oh-so-esteemed company, then if you've got the time, take a look below at the brief yet poignant tribute video which YouTube user ElliotUnleashed crafted after news of this tragic passing broke last week.

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