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Sinister silver screen star Christopher Lee dead at 93

Christopher Lee has died in hospital at the age of 93. He was best known for playing powerful villains like Dracula, the Bond nemesis Francisco Scaramanga and the voice of the Jabberwocky in Alice in Wonderland.

Multiple British newspapers reported on Wednesday that Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee had died in a London hospital after receiving treatment for respiratory problems.

Lee's agent told news agency Reuters in an emailed statement that his family "wishes to make no comment."

A spokeswoman for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London later told media that a death certificate was issued for Lee on June 8, one day after his death on Sunday, June 7.

Filmszene Dracula mit Christopher Lee

Lee's Count Dracula helped typecast him as the stylish villain

Lee starred in dozens of films throughout his career, often playing chilling villains like Count Dracula, Sith lord Count Dooku in the Star Wars franchise, or wizard and Dark Lord Sauron's ally Saruman in the Lord of the Rings films.

His acting career spanned more than 200 movies, including Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland," "Sleepy Hollow," and "Corpse Bride."

The British actor also starred as the title character in the 1958 "Dracula," directed by Terence Fisher. The film kick-started his career at Hammer Pictures, known for its Gothic Hammer Horror films from the mid-1950s to the 1970s.

In an interview with UK newspaper The Guardian, Lee spoke of his time at Hammer Pictures with nostalgia.

"Hammer was an important part of my life, and generally speaking, we all had a lot of fun," Lee said.

Bildergalerie Christopher Lee

'I only need one, Mr. Bond,' Scaramanga boasted as the British agent took six shots into their duel

"Fun seems to be a three-letter word these days, although with directors like Tim Burton and George Lucas, it's fun, fun, fun while working yourself to death. But if you compare those Hammer movies to what has been made in the last 20 years - Brian de Palma, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Wes Craven, Tim Burton and Peter Jackson have all said the same thing to me: 'We were brought up on your movies.' And it certainly shows in theirs," Lee said during the interview.

One of his major early breaks came as Francisco Scaramanga, the eponymous villain in "The Man With the Golden Gun," who nearly bests James Bond in a hall of mirrors shootout despite only using his trusty golden revolver loaded with a single bullet.

Lee, whose mother had aristocratic roots, was knighted by Prince Charles in 2009.

He was also known for narrating and singing in several heavy metal bands. His debut album "Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross" won him the "Spirit of Metal" award at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods ceremony in 2010.

Before embarking on his acting career, he fought for the British and Finnish forces in World War II, spending time in North Africa and participating in the allied invasion of Italy.

ls/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters)