Sir Christopher Lee, at University College Dublin, discusses Gandalf and Saruman in J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings
Legendary British horror actor, Sir Christopher Lee who portrayed the blood-sucking vampire Dracula in the 1958 Hammer Horror Film was awarded Honorary Life Membership by the UCD Law Society.
“We are honoured to present Sir Christopher Lee with Honorary Life Membership of the UCD Law Society. His corpus of work is truly legendary,” says Francis McNamara, Auditor of the UCD Law Society.
“His dedication to his craft for more than half a century should serve as an inspiration to each and every one of us.”
“His portrayal of the blood-sucking vampire Dracula in the 1958 Hammer Horror production terrified audiences throughout the world, and as a result Christopher Lee, who stands at 6 foot 5 inches tall, became one of the most recognisable faces and figures of cinema.”
Previous recipients of Honorary Life Membership of the UCD Law Society include: Jessie Jackson, Bill Clinton, Jeremy Irons, and Seamus Heaney.
But it was not until the early 2000s that his career reached even higher heights from his appearances in two blockbuster film franchises: as Saruman the White in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003), and as Count Dooku in Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones (2002).
Born in 1922 in London, England, Christopher Lee is of noble Italian ancestry on his mother’s side (Carandini). His mother, Contessa Estelle Marie Carandini di Sarzano, was a noted Edwardian beauty and was painted by John Lavery, Oswald Birley and Olive Snell and sculpted by Clare Sheridan, a cousin of Winston Churchill.
The Carandini family is one of the oldest in Europe and traces itself back to the first century AD. It is believed to have been connected with the Emperor Charlemagne, and as such was granted the right to bear the coat of arms of the Holy Roman Empire by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.
In 2009, Lee (89) was knighted by Prince Charles in recognition of his lifetime contribution to the film and television industries. And this year (2011), he received a BAFTA Fellowship.