Splendid news has come that actor Christopher Lee, who celebrated his 87th birthday on May 27, has earned a Knighthood. It’s SIR Christopher Lee, now! By the way, last April, Lee and his wife of 46 years, Gitte, were given a Couple of the Year Award by the readers of the German Gala magazine. Deserved honors all around.
Lee’s friend, Peter Cushing, was awarded an OBE, making him an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and Hammer Films, the studio that launched Lee and Cushing as gothic horror film stars was given the Queen’s Award to Industry for their contribution to the British economy in 1968. That presentation was made on the set of Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, with the Queen’s emissaries shaking hands with Lee in Dracula cape and fangs.
Back in 1957, though he complained that the part had no dialog, Christopher Lee’s career got a supercharged boost with his appearance as the gangly Creature in The Curse of Frankenstein. Shortly thereafter, he rocketed to international stardom as Dracula (1958), a high orbit from which he has never descended.
The photograph here is another stunning portrait from the excellent Life Magazine online archives. It captures Lee in a quiet moment, wearing gruesome over the head makeup indicating crude brain surgery after being shot in the eye, for the film’s climax.