Thu Jun 11, 2015 09:16PM
Christopher Lee, one of Britain's greatest actors, dies at the age of 93 after being hospitalised for respiratory problems and heart failure
Christopher Lee, one of Britain's greatest actors, dies at the age of 93 after being hospitalised for respiratory problems and heart failure

Christopher Lee, one of Britain's greatest actors typecast in horror movies, has died at the age of 93 at a hospital in his home city of London.

The celebrated actor, who had been under treatment for respiratory problems and heart failure for over three weeks, died at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital on Sunday. His death was, however, confirmed on Thursday by the local authority which issued his death certificate.

Lee’s wife, Birgit Kroencke, had held back the news of the actor's death for four days until all family members and friends were informed.

Lee, who appeared in over 250 films and television shows, is best remembered for performing roles in "The Lord of the Rings," "Star Wars," "The Wicker Man," and "The Man with the Golden Gun."

Christopher Lee is seen in a scene from The Lord of the Rings

The climax of the renowned actor's career is, however, believed to be his spine-chilling performances in the horror movies by Hammer Studios.

The legendary British actor was born to a military father and an aristocratic mother in Belgravia, London, in 1922.

Lee, who was knighted in 2009 for services to drama and charity, and was awarded the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) fellowship in 2011, started his film career in 1947 with a role in the movie, Corridor of Mirrors.

He started gaining fame in the late 50s when he began playing roles in films produced in the horror filmmaking studio, Hammer.

“Hammer was an important part of my life, and generally speaking, we all had a lot of fun,” he said in an interview in 2011.

Commenting on his roles as exotic villains in many films, he once said, "They're more interesting, because there's a greater variety you can apply: you can be very cruel or charming, amusing or dangerous."

Lee is admired by many directors, filmmakers, actors and politicians with Tim Burton, the director who worked with Lee on five films, describing him as “a true legend.”

“Christopher has been an enormous inspiration to me my entire life. I had the honor and pleasure to work with him on five films (Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, Alice In Wonderland and Dark Shadows),” Burton said.

“He was the last of his kind - a true legend - who I’m fortunate to have called a friend. He will continue to inspire me and I’m sure countless others for generations to come,” he added.

UK's Prime Minister David Cameron described him on Twitter as "a titan of the golden age of cinema and a … veteran who'll be greatly missed."

Amanda Barry, the chief executive of BAFTA described Lee as a "truly talented and versatile actor."

"I am deeply saddened by the death of Sir Christopher Lee, a truly talented and versatile actor. His biography, and therefore his legacy, is one that many in the film industry can only dream of," he said.

The actor has still a film entitled Angels in Notting Hill to be released and was scheduled to star in 9/11 drama which was due to begin filming in November.

Speaking about his love of acting, Lee said in 2013, “Making films has never just been a job to me, it is my life,” adding, “I have some interests outside of acting – I sing and I’ve written books, for instance – but acting is what keeps me going, it’s what I do, it gives life purpose.”

IA/SS