By now, especially if you’ve clicked into the story, Christopher Lee needs little introduction among Singaporeans. The actor is one of the most known male stars in the local entertainment scene, so much so that he is often lovingly referred to as an ah ge, or a male figure who has become an established name. Besides his fame, how much do you know about Christopher Lee though? Keep reading for 12 facts from how he got started and his career highs to life behind the camera.
Like many local stars, Christopher Lee got his foot into showbiz through the Star Search talent competition. He participated in the 1995 edition where he placed first runner-up behind former actor Ix Shen. Other contestants in the same year include female champion Jacelyn Tay and female second runner-up Phyllis Quek.
Prior to his signing with TCS after Star Search, Christopher Lee took on multiple jobs. He started working at 10 and was able to fully provide for himself by the time he was 13 dabbling in odd jobs. He later came to Singapore and worked as a factory machine operator for six years and did some modelling on the side. He went on to do a sales job back in Malaysia before participating in Star Search.
Since entering the local entertainment scene, Christopher Lee has grown into the recognisable ah ge we know today. He starred in many notable shows including The Price of Peace (1997), The Return of the Condor Heroes (1998), Breakout (2010) and Doppelganger (2018), among many more.
Christopher Lee has been recognised for his acting chops and popularity in Singapore too. Not only does he have two Star Awards‘ Best Actor wins with 14 nominations, he also clinched the All-Time Favourite Artiste award in 2009 after winning Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes 10 times.
Christopher Lee’s shine hasn’t been limited by our borders too. Since gaining overseas representation after signing with the Taiwanese agency Catwalk in 2012, he has gone on to star in multiple overseas dramas and movies such as A Good Wife (2013), Workers (2020) and The Soul (2021). And with these roles, Christopher Lee has earned five acting award nominations from Taiwan’s Golden Bell Awards and took home three of them.
Call him a multi-hyphenate. Christopher Lee has also released music too. He released two albums, Christopher Lee Story and Love, No Boundaries, in 1999 and 2002 respectively. He also has a roster of singers and drama OSTs under his belt.
In April 2023, Christopher Lee revealed in an interview that Fann Wong was initially hesitant to marry him and had to be “convinced”. She used to be very afraid of marriage and was lacking confidence in it, but she eventually decided to marry me. That perhaps explained why the couple had a high-profile relationship for eight years before finally tying the knot in 2009 in a wedding that was broadcasted on national television.
Five years later, the couple added their son Zed to the family.
Speaking of Zed Lee, Christopher Lee and Fann Wong shared in 2019 that they hoped that he wouldn’t follow their path down showbiz. “After being in showbiz for so long, I think both of us are very aware of all sides of it. Granted, every job has its perks and downsides, but the both of us agree that this is something that we hope that he won’t be a part of when he grows up.”
“It’s not just one or two things in particular. Don’t get me wrong – both of us love our jobs, and we know that we’re very blessed, but we just hope that Zed can find his own path. On top of the celebrity life, he’ll be labelled as ‘Christopher Lee and Fann Wong’s son’. We hope that he can do what he likes without having to be compared to us.”
His name is Frederick Lee and you might have noticed the siblings when they co-starred in Danger Zone (2021) together. The younger brother of Christopher Lee had tried to break into the Singaporean market in the early 2000s but he “couldn’t adapt to Singapore’s stressful environment” as “the pace here is simply too quick”. He also didn’t want his brother, who was by then an established name to use his connections as he wanted to make it on his own.
Frederick Lee also opened up that it was Christopher Lee’s portrayal in the 1997 drama The Price of Peace that inspired him to consider acting. “I remember studying interior design when The Price of Peace came on the TV and I had a hard time concentrating when he was onscreen. I was mesmerised by his performance. Here is a guy whom I grew up with, but the feeling of watching him was both familiar and strange. It was like I know him yet I don’t. It was a weird, magical buzz. That was how I got curious about acting. And if I can achieve that with my acting, I would be satisfied.”
In 2006, Christopher Lee made headlines after he was found to have committed drunk driving. He had knocked down a motorcyclist and his pillion rider and made it worst by fleeing the scene. In the end, Christopher Lee was jailed for four weeks, fined $4,500 and banned from driving for three years.
When reflecting on the incident, Christopher Lee thought that his career was over. “Well, it was my own fault that happened. But whatever your predicament or problem, I think it is very important to stay positive. Negativity makes things worse. I’d thought I’d be packing up and leaving the business. I was prepared for the worst, which was moving back to Malaysia or going elsewhere to do a completely different job. That was my plan.”
Named LMS Golf, Christopher Lee’s golfing apparel brand is short for Leader of Man’s Style but is also the initials of Lee Ming Shun, his Chinese name. The golfing enthusiast created the Taiwan-based label with a friend with the aim of creating outfits that look casual without losing style and presentability.
Christopher Lee added that he is involved in the production stages of each garment and wants to create enduring products and brands. “I’m not in a hurry for the products to be available in the market, the products on the day when it is launched must be perfect.”
View this post on Instagram
Christopher Lee went on an episode of Dee Hsu’s Dee Girls Talk in 2023 to shed light on how terrible filming conditions were in the 90s.
“We had three directors for each production, each director would film for eight to 12 hours. Once we’re done filming for the first director, if you’re the lead actor, you will then go on to film [for the next director]. This meant you would go days without sleep.” His record for not sleeping was seven to eight days straight.
The worst was when he filmed 50 episodes of a period drama in less than three months. “We’d shoot till about 3 to 4am every night. The earliest [we would end] would be 2am. Then we would have to go in for hair and make-up again at 6am. Many times, we would end work at 5am, go back for a shower, read our scripts, and leave for work again”
“When we didn’t sleep, we looked so bad. But we would use lighting to cover that up, people couldn’t tell at all. During that period, we often had a chair on standby. My assistant would push it under me and I would collapse on it whenever [the director] said “Cut!”.”
In April 2022, Christopher Lee had Mark Lee and Li Nanxing as guests on his new show Dishing With Chris Lee. In the episode, the trio were volleying jokes at each other before Mark Lee and Li Nanxing remarked their surprise that they were older than Christopher Lee when “he looks older than us”.
For reference’s sake, Mark Lee and Li Nanxing are three and seven years older than Christopher Lee.
Despite his busy schedule, Christopher Lee somehow manages to find time to cook for Fann Wong and Zed Lee in his spare time. In fact, Li Nanxing revealed on his cooking show LNX x Hawkers in 2021 that “Christopher is the one who cooks all three meals at home”. He is more than adept to handle himself in the kitchen and is able to experiment in the kitchen.