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Frankenstein

Screen legend Christopher Lee has died aged 93.

Christopher Lee, who made his name playing Dracula and Frankenstein in the Hammer horror films, appeared in more than 250 movies.

The English-born actor was best-known for his villainous roles – including Scaramanga in James Bond and evil wizard Saruman in The Lord of the Rings.

Christopher Lee’s other credits include The Wicker Man and Star Wars.

The veteran actor is reported to have died on June 7 at Chelsea and Westminster hospital in London, after being hospitalized for respiratory problems and heart failure.

A Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council spokesman said: “We can confirm that the Register Office issued a death certificate for Mr. Christopher Lee on Monday June 8, Mr. Lee died on Sunday June 7.”Christopher Lee dead at 93

Christopher Lee was knighted in 2009 for services to drama and charity and was awarded a BAFTA fellowship in 2011.

The British Film Institute (BFI) tweeted, as the news broke on June 11: “We are deeply saddened to hear that Sir Christopher Lee has passed away.”

Born into affluence in London in 1922, Christopher Lee traced his lineage to Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor.

After public school he served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during the Second World War, where he was mentioned in dispatches.

Christopher Lee’s screen career began when he joined the Rank Organization in 1947, training as an actor in their so-called “charm school”.

His 6ft 4in frame and pointed features often typecast him as a bad guy. His distant cousin Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond books, wanted him to play Dr No in the film of the same name – but that role went to Joseph Wiseman.

Christopher Lee eventually starred as Scaramanga in 1974’s The Man With The Golden Gun.

He also played Fu Manchu in a series of films in the 1960s.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Star Wars prequels – in which he played the nefarious Count Dooku – were the most successful movies of his career from a commercial standpoint.

Christopher Lee also demonstrated his versatility in comedies like 1941 and Gremlins 2.

His other films included 1959’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Three Musketeers (1973), and Jinnah – which he considered to be one of his most important films (1997).

A lover of opera, Christopher Lee launched his singing career in the 1990s, with an album of Broadway tunes, including I Stole The Prince from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers, and Epiphany from Sweeney Todd.

He also enjoyed an unlikely heavy metal career. In 2010, his album Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross won a Spirit of Metal Award from Metal Hammer magazine.

Sir Christopher Lee marked his 92nd birthday by releasing an album of heavy metal cover versions.

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Ice Cube’s cop comedy Ride Along stayed firm at number one in North American box office, taking $21.2 million.

Lone Survivor, starring Mark Wahlberg, held its nerve in second spot, taking £12.6 million.

The film, about the war in Afghanistan, was relatively inexpensive to make and is heading towards a cumulative total of $100 million.

Animated films The Nut Job stayed at number three, with Frozen just behind in its 10th week of release.

The Disney movie has becomes the second biggest original animation of all time, behind Finding Nemo.

Political thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, boasting a line-up including director-actor Kenneth Branagh and Keira Knightley, slipped back to fifth place after a modest debut at four last week.

The latest big screen version of Frankenstein has failed to impress cinema audiences in North America, debuting in a lowly sixth place.

Ice Cube's cop comedy Ride Along stayed firm at number one in North American box office

Ice Cube’s cop comedy Ride Along stayed firm at number one in North American box office

Aaron Eckhart’s beefy vision of the legendary monster made $8.3 million, while the film cost $65 million.

Variety magazine is calling I, Frankenstein the “year’s biggest financial flop so far”, which is likely to slip even further next week as it loses big screen slots to other films including the remake of Robocop.

In the race towards the Oscars at the beginning of March, American Hustle has made the biggest box office headway so far at number seven.

The leading Academy Awards contender, with 10 nominations, was ahead of August: Osage County and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street with North American audiences.

Other best picture contenders had nationwide debuts this weekend, including Dallas Buyers Club, which made a modest $2 million.

It previously opened in autumn but had a limited run at a smaller number of cinemas.

North American box office Top 5:

1. Ride Along – $21.2 million

2. Lone Survivor – $12.6 million

3. The Nut Job – $12.3 million

4. Frozen – $9 million

5. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – $8.8 million

Source: Rentrak

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