- David Peel, Brides of Dracula, 1960. Chris Lee refused a second Dracula film for eight years to avoid the typecasting that ruined Bela Lugosi. He gave in only in 1966 for Dracula: Prince of Darkness - after being The Mummy, Dr. Jekyll, Sherlock Holmes, Rasputin and Fu Manch. Peel never rose again.
- Paul Massie, The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll, 1960. Bored with Lee and Cushing, Hammer ignored Lee’s demand to play the original odd couple. Big mistake. Lee was apeased with a special role written by Wolf Mankowitz.
- Herbert Lom, The Phantom of the Opera, 1961. There were many discussions at Bray Studios about seating Lee at the organ. He would have been ideal for the musical - not composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber for another 24 years.
- Joseph Wiseman, Dr No, 1962.
- Guy Dolman, The Deadly Bees, 1967. Psycho author Robert Bloch penned rival bee-keepers Ralph and Manfred, for the old firm. Lee and Boris Karloff..
- Don Murray, The Viking Queen, 1967. Based on Boudica’s 60-61 AD revolt against the Romans, the tame project aimed Lee as Justinum.. Having recently played Norman Vincent Peale and Wild Bill Hickock, Marilyn Monroe’s Bus Stop cowboy was a bizarre choice for the fair-minded Roman sharing rule with Salina - Finnish model Cairita (Järvinen) in her second and final movie
- Eddie Powell, The Lost Continent, 1968. Lee’s Hammer stunt (and once, nude) double at Hammer said that Lee was first due for The Grand Inquisitor from Dennis Wheatley's Uncharted Seas - IMDb called it Love Boat On Acid.
- John Forbes-Robertson, The Vampire Lovers, 1970. Not pleased with the way Hammer as moving - more sex, less horror, er, fantasy - Lee refused the thinly disguised Dracula called The Man in Black.
- Theodore Bikel, 200 Motels, 1971. Lee was top choice for The Devil, aka Rance Muhammitz, in Frank Zappa’s Spinal Tap - 13 years before Rob Reiner’s classic of a rock band on the run. Frank Zappa co-directed, let Ringo Starr rule Zappa’s Mothers of Invention band and found room for The Who’s crazy drummer Keith Moon… as a nun. “Touring makes you crazy,” said Zappa. Nuff said! Yes, but… Theodore Bikel?!
Tom Baker, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, 1973. In the loop for Koura, theevil creator of the homunculus he wants back from John Philip Law’s hero.This is the performance that won Baker the (fourth)Doctor Who for, thus far, the longest reign of any Doctor: seven seasons during 1974-1981.
- Anthony Steel, Histoire d’O, France, 1975. Passed the role of Sir Stephen to Steel, once the pride of Pinewood and Anita Ekberg, now reduced to German Westerns, Swedish and Italian schlockand, soon enough, such 1977 UK soft-core sex tat as Hardcore and Let’s Get Laid. Lee had been trapped into the soft-porn route in Jess Franco’s Eugenie… The Story of Her Journey into Perversion, in 1969. The title wasn’t a giveaway…?
- John Forbes-Robertson, 7 Golden Vampires (US: The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula), Hong-Kong, 1974. "The first Kung Fu Horror Spectacular..." The vamps met the real Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) but only a Dracula, the Dracula fleeing,... havingread the script.
- Jack Nicholson, Tommy, 1975. Ken Russell wanted Lee as the Doctor, but he was on 007 duty inBangkok as The Man With The Golden Gun. . Peter Sellers wasnext choice. Then, Nicholson was in London at the time and had a spare 18hours for singing and filming.
- John Vernon, Golden Rendezvous, 1976. Richard Harris had Lee sacked from the Alistair MacLean thriller.
- Master Bong Soo Han, The Kentucky Fried Movie, 1977. Newly installed in Hollywood atsuggestion of Billy Wilder and Richard Widmark, Lee aimed to avoid horror vehicles and had not yet discovered a sense of humour - and refused he idea of an unknown director called John Landis spoofing Fu Man Chu in the sketch, A Fistful of Yen. He as replaced in style - as Dr Klahn - by Grand Master Bong Soo Han, the Father of Hapkido and Tom Laughlin’s stunt-double and action-choreographer for Billy Jack, 1971.
- John Vernon, Golden Rendezvous, 1977. Alistair MacLean’s terrorism novel limps into life.
- Peter Cushing,The Uncanny,1978. "I know you make good movies," Lee told producer Milton Subotsky."But I've moved out of the low budget picture range. I'm better off in an $8m flop than one of your huge successes."
- Donald Pleasence, Halloween, 1978. Auteur and Hitchcock fan John Carpenter searched high and low for his shrink, Dr Sam Loomis: Peter O’Toole and the Hammer horrors, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee versus Charles Napier, Lawrence Tierney, Abe Vigoda. The $300,00 shoestring budget couldn’t afford any of them! Same for the kinda obvious Lloyd Bridges, David Carradine, Kirk Douglas, Steven Hill, Walter Matthau… and such off-the-wall surprises as John Belushi, Mel Brooks, Yul Brynner, Edward Bunker, Sterling Hayden, Dennis Hopper, Kris Kristofferson… and Dick’s brother, Jerry Van Dyke. Loomis, incidentally was named after John Gavin’s character in Pyscho; his screen lover was Janet Leigh, mother of Carpenter’s heroine, Jamie Lee Curtis. So it flows.
- Richard Burton, Absolution,1978. Chris tried hard to mount the drama in 1973, having already made Anthony Shaffer's Wicker Man, 1973. "Technically ,he could've played it," said Shaffer. "But he was in his Dracula period, which would've shifted the emphasis of the piece entirely."America did not see Burton - "at his brilliant best!" screamed LA ads - until 1988. Four years after his death.
Leslie Nielsen, Airplane! 1979. This could haves tarted a whole new career for Lee, as it did for Nielsen, who went onto more spoofs by the ZAZ team (Jim Abrahams, David and Jerry Zucker): The Naked Gun, etc., ”Lee greatly regretted following the advice of friends to not play Dr Rumack and, missing out on such jewels as... Pilot: Surely you can't be serious.
Doctor: I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.
- John Carradine, The Monster Club, 1980. For the role of R. Chetwynd-Hayes, director Roy Ward Baker went from one celebrated monster to another.
- Louis Jourdan, Swamp Thing, 1982. Rejected the habitual mad scientist (a surprise take-over by Jourdan who usually only played madly handsome) to send up superheroes (‘and sing!”) as Mr Midnight, the nemesis of The Return of Captain Invincible, 1983).
- Jonathan Pryce, Something Wicked This Way Comes, 1983. Novelist Ray Bradbury inscribed one copy of his book: To Christopher Lee - who is Mr.Dark." But even he agreed, he'd done that kind of role so many times, it would hurt the film - "oh, just another horror film!"
- Christopher Lloyd, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1988. Producer Steven Spielberg (and the Disney suits) found Tim Curry’s test as Judge Doom quite terrifying. As if Lloyd was not - he never even blinked! They’d even considered Lee… And, surely, Jon Pertwee was too sweet. Also seen: John Cusack, Roddy McDowall, Sting.
- Donald Pleasence, Ten Little Indians, 1989. Not keen on Judge Wargrave (or perhaps, on producer Harrry Alan Towers). This was Towers’ third version of the Agatha Christie classic. He wrote the other two. Well, his 1956 dialougue was repeated (with minor changes) in the 1974 re-tread. This version required new text as it was suddenly re-set on… African safari. Cheaper.
- Eric Roberts, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996. Hollywood goes Who. Why? For the pilot of a USeries to exhume the BBC science-fiction cult, buried since it ran out of puff after 26 seasons in 1989. As if to prove this wasbig deal LA in action (!),some 63 actors were listed for Doc8 and a further 71 (well, some were on both lists) for his foe, The Master. Such asJames Bond, Gandhi, Han Solo, Freddy Krueger, Magnum, Spock, Jean-Luc Picard and- hey, they’re doctors! - Emmett Brown and Frank-N-Furter. Aka… Timothy Dalton, Ben Kingsley, Harrison Ford, Robert Englund, Tom Selleck, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, Christopher Lloyd , Tim Curry. And Dracula!
- Michael Gambon, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 2003. Richard Attenborough, Ian McKellen, Peter O’Toole - many veterans were tossed into the ring for the gay Albus Dumbledore after the 2002 death of Richard Harris. Plus Lee - busy enough, among his 250 plus screen roles, with both the George Lucas and Peter Jackson cycles. What a double whammy!
- Roy Dotrice, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, 2007 .Director Guillermo del Toro tried hard to find a window for the over-scheduled Lee to play King Balor.
“Christopher has been an enormous inspiration to me my entire life. I had the honour and pleasure to work with him on five films (Sleepy Hollow, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, Alice In Wonderland and Dark Shadows). He was the last of his kind - a true legend - who I’m fortunate to have called a friend. He will continue to inspire me and I’m sure countless others for generations to come.” - Tim Burton.
“Sir Christopher Lee, a wonderful man. A profoundly kind, generous, warm and fascinating man. The consummate gentleman. He was an inspiration in both life and art. In the time we spent together, I had the honor and good fortune of being welcomed into his illustrious proximity. His friendship is one that I will always hold close and dear to my heart. He was the last of his kind. A rare specimen. Hypnotic and commanding, as noble and gallant as he was wise. A brilliant mind with a beautiful heart whose strength of spirit will, in turn, live on in the hearts and minds of many, many generations to come. My eternal respect, love, admiration and thanks to my cherished friend, his family and his dearly beloved Gitte, the woman he worshipped.” – Johnny Depp.
“In every sense, a man of the world; well versed in art, politics, literature, history and science. Scholar, a singer, an extraordinary raconteur and of course, a marvellous actor … There will never be another Christopher Lee, He has a unique place in the history of cinema and in the hearts of millions of fans around the world. The world will be a lesser place without him in it… Rest in peace, Chris. An icon of cinema has passed into legend.” – Peter Jackson
“Sir Christopher Lee was my friend. I think of him every day, and I always will. We both wished that we’d been able to work together more, but it was a joy to make Hugo together. And to just be with him, just listening to his stories, in that beautiful baritone voice, stories about his time in the war, his time working during the heyday of Hammer, on all those wonderful pictures that are now considered to be classics, on eight decades in movies. At a certain point they realized what a treasure they had, and they made him Sir Christopher. And that’s as it should be. He was a great actor, a wonderful friend, a real professional, and I’m really going to miss him.” - Martin Scorsese.