Christopher Lee: Top 20 Quotes on Acting, Aging and Success

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Musings from a legendary actor.

Christopher Lee died at 93 on Sunday, leaving an impressive film legacy behind. 

Lee had over 275 film credits and was known predominantly for his villainous roles, namely his performances as iconic fiends like Dracula and Frankenstein's monster. With so much experience in the world of acting, the Hollywood icon had some important things to say about the business. 

So in memory of Sir Christopher Lee, THR presents 26 of his best quotes on acting:

1. “To be a legend, you’ve either got to be dead or excessively old!

2. “Making films has never just been a job to me, it is my life. 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.”

3. “People should not pass judgment until they have seen the film.”

4. “Every actor has to make terrible films from time to time, but the trick is never to be terrible in them.”

5. "One should try anything he can in his career, except folk dance and incest."

6. “The thing I have always tried to do is surprise people: to present them with something they didn’t expect.”

7. "You can never be a proper actor without good instincts." 

8. "I've done a lot of films that have become iconic, not necessarily because of me.

9. "A real actor has to have an awful lot of imagination, and I do have a great deal."

10.“We don’t always get the kind of work we want, but we always have a choice of whether to do it with good grace or not.”

11. "I don't play long parts. They must be short parts, but they've got to be parts that mean something, that matter, where people will notice when I'm on the screen, and people will remember the character after they've seen the film."

12. "I have made a lot of movies, but I don't see any point in talking about films I don't think are terribly good. I have been in a few. I don't know any actor that hasn't."

13. "I think acting is a mixture of instinct, imagination and inventiveness. All you can learn as an actor is basic technique."

14. "Acting is like a snowstorm or perhaps a large empty vacuum. I'm not deluded by the fact that I'm getting all these offers for work, I'm very happy about it, but I know also that there is the other side and who knows, next year, they may not offer me anything. You never know."

15. "I haven't spent my entire career playing the guy in the bad hat, although I have to say that the bad guy is frequently much more interesting than the good guy."

16. "I stopped appearing as Dracula in 1972 because in my opinion the presentation of the character had deteriorated to such an extent, particularly bringing him into the contemporary day and age, that it really no longer had any meaning."

17. "Comedy is the most difficult thing to do. Easily the most difficult."

18. “What’s really important for me is, as an old man, I’m known by my own generation and the next generation know me, too.”

19. "I didn't want to be known as a man who only made horror films. I made some - very few."

20. "In Britain, any degree of success is met with envy and resentment."

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