Sir Christopher Lee will receive the prestigious Bafta Fellowship at the academy's film awards on Sunday. In a career as varied as it is long, the 88-year-old is still probably best remembered for his title role in the 1958 film Dracula, one of many Hammer Horror films in which he starred.
Steven Spielberg, Elizabeth Taylor, Sean Connery, John Barry and Stanley Kubrick are among those who have previously been honoured with the fellowship.
Sir Christopher said: "It's avery unexpected but very great honour to find myself in suchdistinguished company to receive the fellowship."
Sir Christopher knows a thing or two about distinguished company. He began his career as an uncredited spear carrier in Sir Laurence Olivier's 1948 version of Hamlet. As he worked his way up to bigger parts, he was cast in two films by the brilliant British directing team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.
Audiences will also remember his performances in the cult classic The Wicker Man – he also appears in the remake – and the Bond movie The Man With the Golden Gun.
More recently he starred as the wizard Saruman in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and played Count Dooku in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. He worked with Tim Burton on films including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland.
Born in 1922, a contemporary of actresses such as Judy Garland and Ava Gardner, Sir Christopher is still working. His latest movie is Martin Scorsese's Hugo Cabret, scheduled for release this year.