British actor Sir Christopher Lee is photographed before his interview with APTN, at the AP office in north London March 5, 2010.
Photo by Joel Ryan/AP

Christopher Lee, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ actor, dies: reports


LONDON — The veteran actor Sir Christopher Lee has died at the age of 93 after being hospitalized with respiratory problems, The Associated Press and Reuters reported Thursday.

In a film career spanning seven decades, his iconic roles included the wizard Saruman in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, the Jedi master Count Dooku in “Star Wars,” and the Bond villain, Francisco Scaramanga, in 1974’s “The Man With the Golden Gun.”

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He starred as Count Dracula in 10 different movies, and gained cult-hero status for his roles in the Hammer horror series and the 1973 British cult film “The Wicker Man,” which was remade in 2006 starring Nicolas Cage.

He died on Sunday at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London but his death was not announced until Thursday.

An official for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London on Thursday told The Associated Press a death certificate was issued for Lee on June 8.

Lee also enjoyed a long music career that culminated in 2013 on his 91st birthday with him releasing a heavy metal concept album entitled “Charlemagne: The Omens of Death.”

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Christopher Lee, 'Star Wars' and 'Lord of the Rings' actor, dies: reports