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8 /10 Special Operations Executive

Along the way between his job as a clerk and professional actor, Lee was attached in North Africa to the LRDG (Long Range Desert Group), the precursor of the SAS (Special Air Service).

For a time, he was also assigned to the SOE (Special Operations Executive), also known as the “Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare,” tasked to employ any means necessary to defeat Britain’s enemies. SOE was Churchill’s top-secret black ops unit filled with inventors, warriors, eccentrics, and rule-breakers. Lee’s service record remains classified today, which has led to some speculations about whether it was true.

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7 /10 Too Tall To Be An Actor

When his service in the military intelligence was no longer required, Lee was encouraged by a relative named Nicolò Carandini, then president of Alitalia Airline. Carandini referred Lee to Filippo del Giudice, the founder and head of Two Cities film production company.

At that time, Lee himself knew that he didn’t have much to offer to the industry except his baritone voice.

The referral from the influential relative unsurprisingly worked, and Rank Organization gave Lee a seven-year contract.

The executive who signed the deal, however, thought Lee was too tall to be an actor. He would be proven wrong.


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