Hammer Films' best Dracula, the Master of Horror, the Man with the Golden Gun (a James Bond villain), the wizard Saruman in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, a model on Paul McCartney's Band on the Run cover, an actor of a stratospheric range — all of these describe Christopher Lee, who passed away on June 7 from respiratory problems and heart failure. He was 93 years ago. He was also... a lover of heavy metal music.
Late in life, Lee launched a few metal projects. He collaborated on songs with Manowar and Rhapsody of Fire, released an album of heavy-metal Christmas carols, produced two symphonic-metal concept albums based on Charlemagne—Charlemagne: By the Sword and Cross (2010, winner of that year's "Spirit of Metal" award from the Golden Gods Awards) and Charlemagne: The Omens of Death (2013), and, just last holiday season, released a metal Christmas single, "Darkest Carols, Faithful Sing."
"At my age, the most important thing for me is to keep active by doing things I truly enjoy," he said at the time. "I do not know how long I am going to be around, so every day is a celebration."
He certainly did just that, working right up until the time he passed away on pre-production for an Uma Thurman film.
"When I die, I want to die with my boots on," he said.
Lee's wife, Birgit Kroencke, did not release the news of his death until today, choosing to inform family and friends before the press.
Celebrate Lee With a Rockin' Christmas Carol
Or Salute him with a Spin of his Symphonic Metal Charlemagne Track