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[personal profile] strange_complex
Rah! Today is Christopher Lee's birthday, and he is eighty-two! Impressive stuff for a man with three movies either just finished or about to start production on his IMDb page.

So this is my public wish for many happy returns to him (and lots more excellent films, please!). I also intend to mark the day by watching The Wicker Man tonight on DVD.

Here are some fun facts about him with which to impress your friends:
  • He appears in the Guinness Book of Records as the actor with the most ever screen credits to his name.
  • He has also performed the most ever on-screen sword-fights
  • His mother was an Italian countess, from the Carandini family (his full name, in fact, is Christopher Frank Carandini Lee).
  • Ian Fleming was his step-cousin, and apparently Lee was Fleming's first choice to play 'Dr. No' in the first Bond film. (Joseph Wiseman was eventually chosen instead, but Christopher Lee still got his 'shot' at Bond villain fame when he played Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun.)
  • Spookily, he shares his birthday with Vincent Price, while Peter Cushing was born on May 26th!
  • He used to live next door to Boris Karloff.

Date: Thursday, 27 May 2004 02:46 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] superdus.livejournal.com
Wow! He certainly does sound like an actor of real pedigree!

Date: Thursday, 27 May 2004 03:08 (UTC)
ext_550458: (Default)
From: [identity profile] strange-complex.livejournal.com
Channel 4 ranked him at no. 31 in their '100 Greatest Movie Stars' (http://www.channel4.co.uk/film/newsfeatures/microsites/M/moviestars/results/results_100_96.jsp) - above e.g. Marilyn Monroe (no. 39), Michael Caine (no. 44) or Gerard Depardieu (no. 90).

Mind you, it was ranked on the basis of votes from Joe Public, so who's to say it counts for anything!

Date: Thursday, 27 May 2004 13:31 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bloodnok.livejournal.com
Christopher Lee is, indeed, a god, and a bloody nice gentleman to boot (as was the much-missed Peter Cushing). I too shall raise a glass in honour and anticipation of a good few years and movies out of him yet! They don't make them like him anymore. I can't begin to number the hours of pleasure I've reaped from his films.

Enjoy The Wicker Man.
(deleted comment)

Date: Friday, 28 May 2004 02:22 (UTC)
ext_550458: (Default)
From: [identity profile] strange-complex.livejournal.com
I'm a bit surprised about the movie credits, but the key is of course that Guinness is reporting credits, rather than appearances.

I guess the former is a lot easier to verify than the latter. I like the sheer single-mindedness of Douglas Miller's theory!

CL certainly does have a very impressive list of stuff on his IMDb page (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000489/), though! And it's all confirmed by more reliable sources, such as his own autobiography or a very thorough and comprehensive book on his screen career by a man named Jonathan Rigby.

It basically comes of having worked in the industry for 57 years, having worked incredibly hard for the whole of that time, and having worked on films made by companies based in a wide variety of different countries. There are also books, TV appearances, records (yes, he sings!) and voice-over work as well, on top of the film credits.

Give your interest in maths, by the way, you're highly likely to enjoy the University of Virginia's 'Oracle of Kevin Bacon' page on Who is the Center of the Hollywood Universe? (http://www.cs.virginia.edu/oracle/center.html). This produces a mean number of steps needed to link one screen actor / actress to another (through joint appearances in made-for-cinema films). It was developed to establish links between Kevin Bacon and the rest of Hollywood, obviously, but works for any actor / actress.

If you click on the link from that page pointing to the 1000 best centers (http://www.cs.virginia.edu/oracle/center_list.html) in the Hollywood Universe, you'll find that Christopher Lee is at number 2 on the list, being able to be linked to any other actor / actress in an average of 2.659 steps. I'm told he used to be at the top of the list, but he seems now to have been kicked off by Rod Steiger, with 2.651 steps. Not sure what happened there, but CL still has time to regain the number 1 spot! John Carradine, by the way, is at number 28.

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