Though his stage work was limited, he was revered by actors and audiences alike for his efforts to diversify his range. He first achieved fame playing Dracula and other monsters for England's Hammer Studio in the 1950s and early 1960s.
But he will likely be best remembered by contemporary audiences for memorable featured roles in two of the biggest film franchises of the 21st century, Count Dooku in the "Star Wars" prequels, and the corrupted wizard Saruman in the "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" films.
He also maintained a less-known career as a Heavy Metal singer, releasing the successful 2010 "symphonic metal" album, "Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross."
He never did a stage musical, but he did record Lerner & Loewe's "Wanderin' Star" from Paint Your Wagon on a specialty album titled "The Musicality of Lerner & Loewe" in a register few other singers are likely to reach.
Lee reportedly died in London June 7 of heart failure.