May 27: Happy Birthday Sir Christopher Lee

Today, May 27, is the birthday of actor Sir Christopher Lee.  Though he passed away last year at the age of 93, he is still implanting himself into nightmares all over the world.  Only death could keep him from acting.

He had a long career—almost 70 years with roles in every type of film, however he is best known for his more sinister characters, like his turn playing Dracula.  He was Fransisco Scaramanga in the James Bond classic The Man with the Golden Gun.  Younger viewers would recognize him as Saruman in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, as well as, The Hobbit film trilogy.  He also starred as the Count Dooku in two of the Star Wars prequel films and was a popular addition in the films of director Tim Burton.

His lanky looks—all 6’5” of him— and deep voice may have made him a popular villain, but he also accomplished many other things. He was a very good singer who recorded music in multiple genres, including symphonic metal.   Lee was a polyglot who spoke eight languages. Sir Lee also was a much decorated officer in WWII.  He was a beloved family man who had been married to wife Birgit since 1961. His autobiography is aptly titled Tall, Dark and Gruesome was published in 1997.

If you want to see a really inventive, underseen performance of Sir Christopher Lee, check out his turn as a conflicted king in the 1984 “Shelley Duvall Faerie Tale Theater” episode of The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers. It can be seen on Hulu Plus.

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Michelle Tompkins

Michelle Tompkins is an award-winning media, PR and crisis communications professional with more than ten years experience with coverage in virtually every traditional and new media outlet. She is currently a communications and media strategist and writer, as well as the author of College Prowler: Guidebook for Columbia University. She served as the Media Relations Manager for the Girl Scouts of the USA where she managed all media and talking points, created social media strategy, trained executives and donors and served as the organization’s primary spokesperson, participating in daily interviews with local, regional, and national media outlets. She managed the media for the Let Me Know internet safety and Cyberbullying prevention campaign with Microsoft, as well as Girl Scouts’ centennial Year of the Girl To Get Her There celebration in 2012, which yielded more than 800 million earned media impressions. In addition to her extensive media experience, Michelle worked as a talent agent in Los Angeles, California, as well contracting as a digital content developer and her writing has appeared in newspapers and online. She is passionate about television, theater, classic movies, all things food and in-home entertaining. While she has lived and worked in NYC for more than a decade, she is from suburban Sacramento and gets back there often to watch the San Francisco Giants on TV with her family.