Never quite able to break away from being labeled as the vampire Count Dracula, after playing the character for Hammer no less than 8 times, Lee would eventually find fame very late in life. This was after being cast as Saruman by Peter Jackson in the JRR Tolkien adapted Lord of the Rings trilogy. And he would appear as Saruman once more when Jackson made another Tolkien book into a film, The Hobbit. In fact, Christopher Lee was the only cast member to have ever met JRR Tolkien, although the meeting wasn't one that Lee would remember fondly.
Lee became lifelong friends with fellow thespian and Hammer horror opposite -- usually playing Dracula's nemesis, Abraham van Helsing -- Peter Cushing. In 2009, his lengthy career was finally rewarded with a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth. Then in 2011, he was awarded a Bafta Fellowship (see video below), which was presented by director Tim Burton.
We say farewell to a true thespian, Sir Christopher Lee.