Sir Ian McKellen

Last updated 09 January 2020

Sir Ian McKellen
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Sir Ian Murray McKellen, CH, CBE

Born: Thursday 25th May 1939 (age: 84)

Official Site

Sir Ian McKellen is an award winning actor, appearing in some of the most successful film franchises of recent years, X Men and The Lord of the Rings. Other notable roles include playing the eponymous lead in Richard III, Six Degrees of Separation, Apt Pupil, and The Da Vinci Code amongst many others. He was nominated for an Oscar in 1999 for Gods and Monsters, and in 2002 for The Fellowship of the Ring, and for the BAFTA for both Fellowship and Return of the King, and for Richard III.

His theatre career is also very extensive, and has appeared in a number of Royal Shakespeare Company performances, including lead roles in Macbeth and Othello, and more recently in King Lear. In 2009 he appeared in the popular revival of Waiting for Godot opposite Patrick Stewart.

For television, he recently played Number 2 in the remake of The Prisoner, and in 2005 he fulfilled a lifetime ambition to play a character in long-running soap Coronation Street.

On 16th March 2002 he was a guest-host on Saturday Night Live, where he played "the best Doctor Who impersonator in town" in a Comic Book sketch; he later was to play aged actor Freddie in Vicious (alongside Sir Derek Jacobi as Stuart), one of whose roles was as a villain in Doctor Who. In 2012 he provided an uncredited performance in Doctor Who itself, as the voice of the Great Intelligence in The Snowmen.

A long-term campaigner for equal rights for non-heterosexual relationships, McKellen was a co-founder of Stonewall, an LGBT rights lobby group in the UK. He receiveda CBE in 1979 and was knighted in 1991 for services to the performing arts; he was made a Companion of Honour in 2008 for services to drama.