Born Christopher Frank Carandini Lee in
London, England, in 1922, he starred in a variety of television and film roles throughout the 1950s but didn't reach
stardom until his association with Hammer Film Productions, beginning with
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), The Horror of Dracula (1958), The Mummy (1959), and The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959).
Originally, the title of this 1958 version was Dracula.
However, in the United States the title was changed to Horror of Dracula to avoid confusion with the classic 1931
version. Even twenty-seven years after the 1931 classic
was released, the original Bela Lugosi version of Dracula was still being booked into theatres until the Shock Theatre package of classic
Universal horror films was released to television.
His role in Horror of Dracula was so popular, it was perpetuated in
a variety of Hammer sequels throughout the 1960s and into the early 1970s.
These films were so successful that Lee decided in the late 1970s to move to Hollywood,
where he continued acting in a number of films but were lesser known. He eventually moved back to England.
In the early 2000s, Lee's career was revitalized by
his appearances in two blockbuster film franchises: The Lord of the Rings (as Saruman the White) and Star Wars (as Count Dooku).
But, none of these roles has eclipsed his role as Count Dracula.
Lee's passionately suave style as the mysterious vampire allowed The Horror of Dracula to find its own place in cinematic
More Faces of Dracula
Max Schreck in "Nosferatu"
Bela Lugosi in "Dracula"
Frank Langella in "Dracula"
Gary Oldman in "Bram Stoker's Dracula"
Willem Dafoe in "Shadow of the Vampire"