Sir Christopher Lee (27 May 1922 – 7 June 2015)
This imposing and elegant actor was often the best thing about the films he made.
Whether as Dracula in a series of Hammer Horror films, the equally formidable baddy Saruman in the Lord of the Rings saga, the dotty impressionist Seurat in Moulin Rouge, the nasty aristocrat Evremonde in A Tale of Two Cities, or an unbilled spear carrier in Hamlet, he had a real presence that enlivened the great and petty villains he generally brought to life on screen.
Of his 200 odd appearances over his 93 years, The Varnished Culture‘s favourite Lee role was Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man (1973). It was a small but not a minor role and he gave it real class as well as a genuine edgy weirdness. Vale.