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Christopher Lee, horror master and renowned film villain, dies at 93

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Sir Christopher Lee, the British actor who mastered horror and Dracula roles before his turns as a Bond villain and the wizard Saruman in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, died this week, a London borough spokesman said Thursday.

Sir Christopher Lee, the British actor who mastered horror and Dracula roles before his turns as a Bond villain and the wizard Saruman in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, died this week, a London borough spokesman said Thursday.

Lee, 93, died Sunday, the spokesman for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea said.

Lee initially made his name in horror films, playing Count Dracula and Frankenstein in a series films for Britain’s Hammer studios from the 1950s until the 1970s.

He had numerous movie and TV roles beginning in 1948, including more than 150 on film, often as a villain. In one such role, he appeared as James Bond’s nemesis Francisco Scaramanga in 1974’s “The Man with the Golden Gun.”

His more recent film credits include the menacing Saruman in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and fallen Jedi knight Count Dooku in the “Star Wars” prequels.

In his last few years, the white-haired actor took to a tongue-in-cheek heavy metal career, releasing the holiday albums “A Heavy Metal Christmas” and “A Heavy Metal Christmas Too” in 2012 and 2013.

He earned a number of high honors in a film career reaching nearly seven decades, including being named a knight of the British Empire in 2009.