I can't host an, albeit intermittent, Lord of the Rings blog and not note the passing of Christopher Lee who, of course, was the only LotR cast member who had actually met Tolkein. My effort at the Games Workshop Saruman (above) was one of the first (if not the first) metal Lord of the Rings figures I painted.
The Saruman figure came with Battle Games in Middle Earth issue 15 in 2002 and I painted it immediately, so before my blogs existed. I am old enough to remember Christopher Lee as an actor in Hammer films Dracula series (and others) and, as an unlikely Chinese, in Harry Alan Towers Fu Manchu films in the sixties. So it is in these films, rather than his later Star Wars and LotR incarnations, with which I really identify him.
For me his appearance in The Lord of a Rings films was a surprise given his age at the time but now it is hard to imagine anyone else bringing Saruman to life.