Dracula actor dies aged 93

DRACULA (BR1958) CHRISTOPHER LEE''Bram Stoker centenary
DRACULA (BR1958) CHRISTOPHER LEE''Bram Stoker centenary

The actor who was perhaps best known for playing Dracula, in an adaptation of the novel that was inspired by Whitby, has died this week aged 93.

Sir Christopher Lee, described as “the master of horror”, died on Sunday morning at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London after being hospitalised for respiratory problems and heart failure.

However, the news has only just been released at the request of his wife, former Danish model Birgit Kroencke, who wished to inform all family members first. The couple had been married for over 50 years and had one daughter, Christina.

The actor was knighted in 2009 for services to drama and charity and was awarded the Bafta fellowship in 2011.

His film career started in 1947 and in the 1950s Lee started working with Hammer in a number of horror roles. In 1958 he starred as Frankenstein’s monster in Dracula.

The novel had been penned in 1897 by author Bram Stoker who visited Whitby seven years previously. He stayed on Royal Crescent and used the views across the harbour and to Tate Hill in particular as a setting for the novel.

Playing Dracula is thought to have been his most popular role in the Hammer series but the actor wasn’t pleased with how the character was treated.

In an interview with Total Film in 2005 he said: “They gave me nothing to do. I pleaded with Hammer to let me use some of the lines that Bram Stoker had written. Occasionally, I sneaked one in. Eventually I told them that I wasn’t going to play Dracula any more. All hell broke loose.”

As the news of his passing was released the Whitby Dracula Society tweeted: “RIP #SirChristopherLee who has sadly passed over. A fine actor, a truly great #Dracula, and now a legend.”