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CHRISTOPHER LEE (Count Dooku) was born in Belgravia, London on May 27, 1922. His father was a Colonel in the 60th King's Royal Rifle Corps (originally the Royal Americans) and was decorated for gallantry in the Boer War and the First World War. He was also one of the greatest amateur sportsmen of his time. His mother, Contessa Estelle Marie Carandini di Sarzano, was a noted Edwardian beauty and was painted by John Lavery, Oswald Birley and Olive Snell and sculpted by Clare Sheridan, a cousin of Winston Churchill.

The Carandini family is one of the oldest in Europe and traces itself back to the first century AD. It is believed to have had close connections with the Emperor Charlemagne and was granted the right to bear the coat of arms of the Holy Roman Empire by the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. An ancestor, Cardinal Consalvi was Papal Secretary of State at the time of Napoleon and is buried at the Pantheon in Rome next to the painter Raphael. His painting, by Lawrence hangs in Windsor Castle. A cousin Niccolo Carandini was the first Italian ambassador to Britain after World War II and subsequently was President of Alitalia.

Christopher Lee was educated at Summer Fields preparatory school, took a scholarship at Eton College and Wellington College, where he was a classical scholar in Greek and Latin.

After leaving school Lee worked as an office boy and messenger in the City of London at the salary of £1 a week and during five years of World War II he served in the Royal Air Force and Special Forces. He was decorated for distinguished service and held the rank of Flight Lieutenant. After demobilization in 1946, Lee entered the film industry in 1947 and was for a time under contract to the Rank Organisation. He has appeared in the theatre and in operatic performances and has recorded for radio world-wide. Lee also narrated and sang in The Return of Captain Invincible and recorded The King of Elliand's Daughter for Chrysalis, Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale for Nimbus, Peter and the Wolf, also for Nimbus, conducted by Yehudi Menuhin, The King And I, and Christopher Lee Sings Rogues, Devils and Other Villains; From Broadway to Bavreuth.

Lee has worked with such filmmakers as John Huston, Raoul Walsh, Joseph Losey, George Marshall, Orson Welles, Nicholas Ray, Michael Powell, Edward Molinaro, Jerome Savary, Billy Wilder, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, John Landis, Tim Burton, Peter Jackson and of course George Lucas.

He has filmed in Russian, Italian, French, German and Spanish and has worked in many countries all over the world. Lee has appeared in over 250 film and television productions, among which the best known are A Tale of Two Cities, Dracula, The Wicker Man, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers, The Man with the Golden Gun (the author of the book on which was the film was based was Lee's cousin Ian Fleming), 1941, Airport ‘77, Gremlins II, Jinnah, Sleepy Hollow, and Lord of the Rings.

Lee considers the most important point in his career to have been as host of Saturday Night Live in 1978, with John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Laraine Newman and Jane Curtin. It is still the third highest rated show of the series with thirty-five million viewers.

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