Lee’s death leaves void that no one can fill

By Bob Bloom

The death of Christopher Lee at 93 was sad news for film buffs around the world.
Lee was a working actor who, through talent and diligence, rose to iconic status not only because of his work in Hammer Films of the 1950s and ’60s, but because he was able to transcend genres.
My first encounter with Lee was when I was about 9 or 10 years old. My father, who loved Bela Lugosi’s “Dracula,” took me to see “Horror of Dracula,” in which Lee so memorably created his own characterization of the Count.
I was mesmerized, and from then on, I looked forward to the next Hammer film, whether it be a Dracula sequel, “The Mummy” or a Fu Manchu adventure.
Without knowing so, Lee played a very important role in my life: The first date with the woman who would become my wife was a double feature of “The Valley of the Gwangi” and “Dracula Has Risen From the Grave.”
I continued to follow Lee’s career, enjoying his comic performance as a German U-boat commander in Steven Spielberg’s “1941” and his villainy in “The Man With the Golden Gun.”
“Golden Gun” is one of the lesser James Bond films that was elevated because of Lee’s presence and performance.
Lee will be greatly missed. I don’t believe there is an actor today who can fill the void he has left.
Lee was more than a horror film icon: He was a superb character actor and, more importantly, he was beloved.
Filmmakers such as George Lucas and Peter Jackson, who were children when Lee was making his mark at Hammer, sought him out when they began making movies in order to add stature to their works.
Rest in peace, Mr. Lee. And thank you for the many hours of frights, fun and enjoyment you provided to film fans around the world for the past six decades.

Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at ReelBob (reelbob.com) and The Film Yap (filmyap.com). He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at bobbloomjc@gmail.com or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom. Other reviews by Bloom can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.

  • ReelBob

    Share your memories of Christopher Lee, and tell us your favorite Lee performance at ReelBob.