This Lord of The Rings Star Was The Only Cast Member To Know Tolkien Personally

This Lord of The Rings Star Was The Only Cast Member To Know Tolkien Personally
Image credit: Legion-Media

Not only a great actor, but a fan of the books himself, his addition to the cast was a great choice.

The Lord of the Rings film series is without a doubt one of the most faithful adaptations of the source material.

Created by Peter Jackson, the film did a wonderful job of bringing the world of Middle-earth to the big screen, using groundbreaking visual effects and techniques.

The cast, which included Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen and many more, also managed to masterfully portray their book originals.

But one actor stood out because of his undying love for the books and his personal acquaintance with their author, J. R. R. Tolkien.

Sir Christopher Lee, who sadly passed away in 2015, was a veteran English actor whose career spanned over sixty years.

He often portrayed villains, such as Count Dracula in seven Hammer horror films, Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun, and Count Dooku in two parts of the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

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He played the evil wizard Saruman in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and later reprised his role for The Hobbit film trilogy.

The actor was a huge fan of the original books himself, reading The Hobbit after leaving the Royal Air Force in 1945, and reading all of Tolkien's books once a year since The Fellowship of the Ring came out.

Lee also had the opportunity to meet his favorite author in person. As he later recalled in an interview:

"We were sitting there talking and drinking beer or something, and someone said, "Oh, look who walked in," it was Professor Tolkien and I nearly fell off my chair.

I didn't even know he was alive. He was a benign looking man, smoking a pipe, walking in… an English countryman with earth under his feet.

And he was a genius, a man of incredible intellectual knowledge. And he knew somebody in our group. He [the man in the group] said, "Oh Professor, Professor," and he came over.

And each one of us, well I knelt of course, each one of us said, "How do you do?" And I just said "Ho… How… How…" I just couldn't belive it. But I'll never forget it."

When Sir Cristopher heard that Peter Jackson was going to adapt his bedside book, he immediately called his agent. Although Lee always envisioned himself playing Gandalf, the actor's age took its toll.

The role of Saruman required no horseback riding and far less fighting than Gandalf's, so he had to take a second-best option.

And he certainly did not disappoint, as his portrayal of Saruman the White will always be remembered fondly by fans.