We all love Christopher Lee, the British cinematic icon best known for playing Dracula in various Hammer films, Saruman in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Count Dooku in Star Wars - Episode II: Attack of the Clones, in which he duels with Yoda as the latter bounces around the room like a cocaine-infused Mexican jumping bean. Lee also famously played a Bond villain in The Man With The Golden Gun, and … that guy who owns a wicker man in The Wicker Man

Lee was also a legit badass – and not just because he once released a Christmas album that would blow the paint off of a church nativity scene.

As we’ve mentioned before, Lee was reportedly, at one point, a member of Britain's Special Operations Executive, AKA the “Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.” And before that, he battled Nazis in North Africa, and even “prevented a mutiny among his troops.” While some have argued that these stories are embellished, if you need further evidence of what a suave tough guy Lee was, we present to you this video of him demonstrating how to properly wield antique swords, from what we can only assume was his sword room:

Lee’s real-world fighting expertise also came in handy while making movies too; during the filming of The Lord of the Rings, he was able to inform director Peter Jackson of the proper sound one makes while being stabbed in the back, allegedly based on his own life experiences. Jackson wisely “didn’t push the subject any further” and let him do his thing.

And presumably, Lee’s expertise in international espionage came in handy while shooting Police Academy: Mission to Moscow. 

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Thumbnail: New Line Cinema

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