Film Industry Pays Tribute to Christopher Lee
Elijah Wood, Chloe Grace Moretz, Josh Gad, Dominic Monaghan, Neil Gaiman and Martin Scorsese are among those mourning the death of the British horror icon.
News of the death of Christopher Lee, the famed movie villain — known for his roles as Count Dracula, the Frankenstein monster and Fu Manchu — sparked an instant response on Thursday from the film industry and those who had simply been fortunate enough to meet the venerable British actor.
Tim Burton — who directed Lee in five films, including Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland — released a statement about the late actor, calling it "an honor and pleasure to work with him."
"Christopher has been an enormous inspiration to me my entire life," 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."
Said director Martin Scorsese: “Sir Christopher Lee was my friend. I think of him every day, and I always will. We both wished that we’d been able to work together more, but it was a joy to make Hugo together. And to just be with him, just listening to his stories, in that beautiful baritone voice, stories about his time in the war, his time working during the heyday of Hammer, on all those wonderful pictures that are now considered to be classics, on eight decades in movies...
“At a certain point they realized what a treasure they had, and they made him Sir Christopher. And that’s as it should be. He was a great actor, a wonderful friend, a REAL professional, and I’m really going to miss him.”
BAFTA, which in 2011 awarded Lee is highest honor, the BAFTA Fellowship, tweeted that the death of Lee was "such sad news." The British Academy's CEO Amanda Berry later commented that his "biography, and therefore his legacy, is one that many in the film industry can only dream of." She added that his 200-plus film catalog included "some of the most iconic of our time."
British Film Institute CEO Amanda Nevill released the following statement: "Sir Christopher Lee, a BFI Fellow, was a distinctive and enduring presence in British and international cinema for almost 70 years. He leaves behind an unforgettable legacy of film and television performance. His contribution to cinema history spans such films as the definitive Dracula for Hammer Films through Billy Wilder’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, and the seminal The Wicker Man. His personal favorite was the title role in Jinnah. He had a unique ability to appeal to each successive generation, gaining a new wave of fans as Saruman in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and in Tim Burton's films. British Cinema pays tribute to this global legend."
Actor Paddy Considine, London mayor Boris Johnson and BBC Films were also quick to take to Twitter to remember Lee.
"Really sad to hear about the death of Christopher Lee, one of the greatest British actors and a master of the macabre," Johnson tweeted, including a photo of himself with the late star, in which Johnson brandished a Star Wars lightsaber.
BBC Films, which worked with Lee on war 2009 thriller Glorious 69, posted: "Oh goodness, another incredibly sad death today. Legendary actor Christopher Lee, aged 93. RIP."
Peter Jackson, who worked with Lee on five films, posted a tribute to the actor on Facebook: "There will never be another Christopher Lee. He has a unique place in the history of cinema and in the hearts of millions of fans around the world," and concluded, "An icon of cinema has passed into legend."
Dominic Monaghan, Josh Gad and Neil Gaiman were also among the stars paying tribute to Lee on Twitter. Monaghan's Lord of the Rings co-star Elijah Wood, who also worked with Lee on the Peter Jackson-directed trilogy, responded to messages on Twitter by recalling his own experiences with the late actor. "If anyone was going to be immortal, it was Christopher," Wood wrote, adding, "He was such a story teller and he loved to regale everyone with his various and many extraordinary experiences." Chloe Grace Moretz, who worked with Lee twice, in Dark Shadows and Hugo, tweeted an extensive tribute to him, ending with "Rest in peace, it will always be an honor to say I got to know such a beautiful soul, Forever Changed."
Lee was also a longtime animal-rights supporter, with PETA president Ingrid Newkirk saying of him, "There was a kind heart behind the on-screen villain, and it was a privilege to work with him on our campaign to end cruel heart-disease experiments on animals and encourage everyone to support charities that don't hurt and kill animals. He will be missed by all of us."
Read on to see what the film industry is saying about Lee on social media.
A true legend has passed. Sir Christopher Lee. pic.twitter.com/MqVqxXtqda— Paddy Considine (@PaddyConsidine) June 11, 2015
Really sad to hear about the death of Christopher Lee, one of the greatest British actors and a master of the macabre pic.twitter.com/q5UUhc7xId— Boris Johnson (@MayorofLondon) June 11, 2015
Oh goodness, another incredibly sad death today. Legendary actor Christopher Lee, aged 93. RIP. http://t.co/9nqRQexypa— BBC Films (@BBCFilms) June 11, 2015
RIP Christopher Lee a.k.a. the man with the golden gun— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) June 11, 2015
What a sad day for the world to lose this incredible actor and human being. Christopher Lee, photo by… https://t.co/635BmEshsn— Bryan Adams (@bryanadams) June 11, 2015
I wish I'd met Sir Christopher Lee. I was so lucky & proud to have had him play the Earl in @BBCRadio4 Neverwhere. Great actor, great loss.— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) June 11, 2015
Christopher Lee was Dracula, Count Dooku, Saruman AND The Man with the Golden Gun. Amazing career. Rest in peace.— Richard Roeper (@richardroeper) June 11, 2015
Legendary actor Sir Christopher Lee, 93, passed away on Sunday June 7. - Rest in Peace. pic.twitter.com/Ky1VbQ64MB— Golden Globe Awards (@goldenglobes) June 11, 2015
RIP Christopher Lee. One day @sethmeyers and I sat in a pub for hours and listened as he told us stories about John Barrymore and Gielgud— Ike Barinholtz (@ikebarinholtz) June 11, 2015
An extraordinary man and life lead, Sir Christopher Lee. You were an icon, and a towering human being with stories for days. We'll miss you.— Elijah Wood (@woodelijah) June 11, 2015
@MarkOrdesky if anyone was going to be immortal, it was Christopher. Indeed, we were blessed.— Elijah Wood (@woodelijah) June 11, 2015
@scottEweinberg He had such a presence. I'm sure I was. It would have been in 2000, I believe— Elijah Wood (@woodelijah) June 11, 2015
@scottEweinberg oh, Scott, he was such a story teller and he loved to regale everyone with his various and many extraordinary experiences— Elijah Wood (@woodelijah) June 11, 2015
-- Rest in peace, it will always be an honor to say I got to know such a beautiful soul, Forever Changed. #SirChristopherLee— Chloë Grace Moretz (@ChloeGMoretz) June 11, 2015
RIP Christopher Lee. He was the King of the Vampires.— Stephen King (@StephenKing) June 11, 2015
RIP #ChristopherLee THE Count Dracula. Fabulous actor. Not dead, only resting.— Fred Willard (@Fred_Willard) June 11, 2015
Christopher Lee 1922-2015 Goodbye to the greatest of the Counts. pic.twitter.com/DQCPHW9BHl— Scott Derrickson (@scottderrickson) June 11, 2015
I loved watching Christopher Lee so much. Very sad to lose him. RIP— Kat Dennings (@OfficialKat) June 11, 2015
Honestly if my life ends up being 1/10th as awesome as Christopher Lee’s was I would consider that a major result.— Gary Whitta (@garywhitta) June 11, 2015
R.I.P. Christopher Lee. He terrified me as Dracula as a little kid & as Saruman as a big kid.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) June 11, 2015
We cheered when Dracula, Saruman & Dooku lost. But today, we weep for the loss of the man who played them all. Farewell Sir Christopher Lee!— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) June 11, 2015
Working with the great Sir Christopher Lee was one of the highlights of my movie life. He was a legend and a gentleman, and he'll be missed.— Seth Grahame-Smith (@sethgs) June 11, 2015
R.I.P. Christopher Lee. Just watched Revenge of the Sith last night! Dooku dead. What a loss.— Joshua Malina (@JoshMalina) June 11, 2015
We are very sad to hear Sir Christopher Lee, who played one of Bond's greatest villains, has passed away. Our thoughts are with his family— James Bond (@007) June 11, 2015