SIR CHRISTOPHER LEE is set to join some of the great names of silver screen later this month when he receives the Academy Fellowship award at the Baftas.
The annual award is the highest honour presented by the Academy, and recognises “an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film.” Previously honoured Fellows include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Sean Connery, Elizabeth Taylor, Julie Christie, John Barry, Stanley Kubrick, Anthony Hopkins, Terry Gilliam and Judi Dench. Last year’s recipient was Vanessa Redgrave.
Tim Corrie, Chair of the Academy described Lee as “a bastion of British filmmaking”.
The Telegraph quotes Lee as saying: “It’s a very unexpected but very great honour to find myself in such distinguished company to receive the Fellowship.”
The 88-year-old actor first rose to stardom through his work for Hammer House of Horror in the mid-50s, when he played Frankenstein’s monster and Dracula. Over his decades-long career, he has appeared in almost 200 films including cult classic The Wicker Man, The Man with the Golden Gun and The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.
Lee, who was knighted in 2009 for his services to drama and charity, gained recognition amongst of a new generation of film-goers – as well as the respect of Tolkien fanatics – when he played Saruman in the Bafta and Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy. He also played Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequels, and has worked extensively with Tim Burton.
Future projects include the highly anticipated Martin Scorsese film, Hugo Cabret, in which Lee will appear alongside Jude Law, Chloe Moretz and Sacha Baron Cohen.