Christopher Lee, C.B.E.
At an investiture at Buckingham Palace, the monarch awarded 79-year-old actor Christopher Lee the title Commander of the British Empire, or CBE, for his services to entertainment.
:The queen said, ‘You’ve had a long career’ – it’s 55 years now – and she asked me what I was doing now,” said Lee, a longtime star for Britain’s Hammer horror studio whose many films include Horror of Dracula and The Curse of Frankenstein.
Lee plays 8,000-year-old wizard Saruman the White in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, the adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic, which opens in the United States on Dec. 19. Lee also plays the villainous Count Dooku in the latest Star Wars prequel, due out in May.
Born in London, Lee was educated at the prestigious Eton and Wellington schools. He joined the Royal Air Force at 17 and served as an intelligence officer during World War II.
He took up acting after returning to civilian life at the end of the war. His many villainous roles include the powerful Russian monk Rasputin in Rasputin the Mad Monk.