LONDON, ENGLAND - British actor Christopher Lee was knighted on Friday at Buckingham Palace, a far cry from the dark and gloomy Hammer Horror film sets where he made his name playing Dracula in the 1950s.
Lee, 87, became famous for his blood-curdling performances as the thirsty count. He has also portrayed a succession of baddies from Scaramanga in the James Bond movie "The Man With The Golden Gun" to Saruman in "The Lord of the Rings."
He was knighted by Prince Charles for his services to drama and to charity spanning during a decades-long career that has seen him appear in more than 250 film and television productions.
"A whole new career opened up for me when I was in "Lord Of The Rings" and "Star Wars (Episode II: Attack of the Clones)"," Lee said.
"What's really important for me is, as an old man, I'm known by my own generation and the next generation know me too."
Lee became a household name as Dracula but admitted he became typecast by the end of the 1960s -- a problem he quickly overcame with his performance in "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes."
"Since then I've never been typecast although I've played a lot of bad guys, there's more scope than being the man in the white hat," he said.
However, he returned to Hammer Horror for the first time since 1976 this year, filming "The Resident" with Hilary Swank.