9 Christopher Lee Quotes about 'Star Wars,' 'Lord of the Rings,' Acting, Business and Life

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- He was known best for playing villains on the silver screen, but Sir Christopher Lee had plenty to say about life in the film business in between shoots.

The British actor, famous for his roles as the vampire Dracula and Saruman in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, died Sunday morning in London, the New York Times reported. He was 93.

Lee broke into the film industry in 1957, playing the role of Frankenstein in Terence Fisher's The Curse of Frankenstein. He went on to play the antagonist in many other movies, including Count Dooku in the Star Wars movies and the aforementioned evil wizard hellbent on destroying the heroes of Middle-earth in The Lord of the Rings.

Worldwide, the films in which Lee appeared grossed more than $6.8 billion over the course of his lifetime, according to film business data website The Numbers.

Though known for his roles playing terrifying characters, Lee frequently insisted that those roles did not define his career or his personality. "I'm much softer than people think," he told British newspaper The Telegraph in 2011. "I don't present to the world an emotional face. I'm pretty good at self-control, but I am easily moved."

Here are nine other quotes attributed to Lee.

"We don't always get the kind of work we want, but we always have a choice of whether to do it with good grace or not."

"It's what you don't see that keeps you on the edge of your seat in any kind of film -- leave it to the imagination of the viewer."

Above: Lee as Dracula.

"Every actor has to make terrible films from time to time, but the trick is never to be terrible in them."

"The thing I have always tried to do is surprise people: to present them with something they didn't expect."

"What's really important for me is, as an old man, I'm known by my own generation and the next generation know me, too."

Above: Lee as Lord Summerisle in "The Wicker Man" (1973).

"Making films has never just been a job to me; it is my life. I have some interests outside of acting -- I sing and I've written books, for instance -- but acting is what keeps me going: it's what I do; it gives life purpose."

Above: Lee as assassin Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond thriller "The Man with the Golden Gun" (1974).

"I have made a lot of movies, but I don't see any point in talking about films I don't think are terribly good. I have been in a few. I don't know any actor that hasn't."

Above: Lee playing the role of the Burgomaster (mayor) in "Sleepy Hollow" (1999).

"When I first read 'Lord of the Rings,' I wanted to see a film of it. But at that time, the technology wasn't there; there was no such thing as CGI."

Above: Lee as the wizard Saruman in "The Lord of the Rings."

"I haven't spent my entire career playing the guy in the bad hat, although I have to say that the bad guy is frequently much more interesting than the good guy."

 

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