Sir Ian Murray McKellen (born 25.5.1939) Ian McKellen is an English, Laurence Olivier award winning actor, acknowledged for his work in theatre and film. He is most notable for his roles in Shakespearian plays and popular fantasy and science fiction films such as: The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, as well as playing Magneto in the recent X-Men films.
Childhood: McKellen was born shortly before World War II in Burnley, Lancashire to parents Dennis Murray McKellen, a civil engineer and Christian preacher and mother, Margery Lois (née Sutcliffe). The family moved to Wigan when Ian was just 4 months old where he claimed he 'slept under a steel plate until he was four years old' due the conflicts of World War II. Ian attended Bolton school and began his acting career at the registered charity organisation, Bolton Little Theatre of which he is now the Patron. His family encouraged his acting profession taking Ian to see multiple plays including: Peter Pan, Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night's Dream starring Ian's sister Jean, as Bottom. Ian won a scholarship to St. Catherine's College when he was 18.
Acting Career: While at Cambridge, McKellen was a member of the Marlowe Society appearing in Henry IV as Shallow, alongside fellow actors Trevor Nunn (who went on to direct McKellen on stage and in television) and Derek Jacobi. McKellen also starred in Cymbeline alongside Margaret Drabble in 1959. Mckellen received his first professional acting job at Nottingham Playhouse in 1961 as Roper, in A Man For All Seasons - a play by Robert Bolt. The play was later adapted into a multi academy award winning film starring Paul Scofield and Orson Welles. McKellen made his first television appearance in an episode of The Indian Tales of Rupyard Kipling before his first West End performance in a Scent of Flowers. The play achieved notable success and was considered a breakthrough after years of performing in regional theatre. In 1965 McKellen became a member of Laurence Olivier's National Theatre Company at the Old Vic theatre, which led to McKellen appearing at the Chichester Festival. Mckellen was also cast alongside Lynn Redgrave in the television film Sunday out of Season in the same year. McKellen continued to star in theatre productions and obtained television roles before starring in television series, David Copperfield. McKellen played lead role David Copperfield for the single series it aired in 1966. In 1969 McKellen was cast in his first feature film starring alongside Sandy Dennis in A Touch of Love, nominated for a Golden Berlin Bear award. Throughout the early 1970's McKellen was cast in multiple television films based on theatrical plays including: Edward II, Hamlet and The Tragedy of King Richard II, McKellen was also becoming a well-known figure in British theatre, frequently performing at the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. McKellen was cast in lead roles including title-role Macbeth. McKellen acted in multiple television episodes and television films based on previous plays before achieving notable recognition for his role in Six Degrees of Separation. The film starred Will Smith and was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. In 1995 McKellen wrote his first screenplay of Richard III, an adaptation from original theatrical play by William Shakespeare. The film achieved notable success including two Academy Award nominations and two BAFTA nominations personally for McKellen. McKellen won a European Film Award for best actor as Richard III and achieved him further industry recognition. McKellen worked alongside previous co-star Lynn Redgrave in Gods and Monsters in 1998. The film was about the last days of critically acclaimed director James Whale, whom McKellen played. McKellen was nominated for an Academy Award for his role however lost out to Roberto Benigni for Life Is Beautiful. After returning to his role as David Copperfield in the 1999 television film, McKellen was cast as Magneto in Box Office hit, X-Men. The film earned $54,471,475 during its opening weekend at the US box office. McKellen reprised his role in X 2 and X-Men: The Last Stand. Whilst being involved in X-Men, McKellen was cast in Peter Jackson's the Lord of the Rings as Gandalf. McKellen earned an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor for his role in the Fellowship of the Ring. McKellen reprised his role as Gandalf for the Lord of the Rings in the Two Towers and the Return of the King both of which achieved critical and commercial success, obtaining McKellen with notable recognition. Despite being involved in major film roles, including animated hits, Flushed Away and the Magic Roundabout as well as starring in Stardust, The Da Vinci code and The Golden Compass, McKellen continued to act in the Royal Shakespeare Company productions of King Lear and the Seagull both directed by previous co-star Trevor Nunn. McKellen continues to act in film and theatre and is continuing his role as Gandalf in the Hobbit and Magneto in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Personal Life: Ian's mother died from breast cancer when he was 12 and his father died when he was 24. McKellen came out gay to his step-mother who Ian stated "Not only was she not fazed, but as a member of a society which declared its indifference to people's sexuality years back, I think she was just glad for my sake that I wasn't lying anymore." McKellen made his sexual orientation clear to his co-stars at an early age however it wasn't until 1988 that he came out publically. Since then he has actively fought against sexual discrimination, protesting against Section 28, which proposed top prohibit promoting homosexuality and McKellen launched charities to help homosexual individuals who felt lost. McKellen dated Bolton history teacher, Brian Taylor in 1964 for 8 years. McKellen then went on to date Sean Mathias whom he met at the Edinburgh festival. The couple dated for ten years however parted after stating they had conflicting careers. Mathias went on to direct McKellen in 2009's Waiting for Godot. McKellen has stated he was a good friend of fellow actor Ian Charleson, contributing an entire chapter to him in: 'For Ian Charleson: A Tribute.' McKellen lost his appetite for meat in the 1980's therefore mostly excludes it from his diet. McKellen is still known to eat fish. In 2006 McKellen was diagnosed with prostate Cancer.
"Haters gonna hate and fakers gonna fake" say Sir Ian McKellen, Morgan Freeman and many more in the brilliant cut-up video.
The Oxford Union, the debating society at Oxford University is trying to persuade Taylor Swift to travel to the city to give a speech by releasing a hilarious mash-up video of former guest speakers reciting the lyrics to her hit single ‘Shake It Off’.
Stephen Fry kicks off the clip opening with the line “I stay up too late”, before a range of prestigious speakers including Morgan Freeman, Sir Patrick Stewart, Piers Morgan, Richard Dawkins, Sir Ian McKellen, FIFA president Sepp Blatter and ‘Gangnam Style’ singer Psy are cut up and rearranged to recite other key lines from the song. You can check out the clip at the bottom of the page.
Taylor Swift's 'Shake It Off' is the subject of a brilliant mash-up video by Oxford Uni's debating society
Continue reading: Oxford Union Makes "Shake It Off" Mash-Up Video
'The Theory of Everything' star will be playing the lead in a biopic about the life of Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum.
Oscar-winning British actor Eddie Redmayne has landed yet more work in the wake of his fantastic success this year, being cast as Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum in an upcoming biopic of the celebrated children’s fantasy writer.
Movie blog The Tracking Board broke the news on Thursday (August 6th). The film is reportedly based on a much-discussed screenplay by industry newcomer Josh Golden that was bought by the New Line studio last year after an intense bidding war.
Eddie Redmayne with wife Hannah Bagshawe at the 2015 Oscars
Continue reading: Eddie Redmayne Lands Lead In 'Wizard Of Oz' Author's Biopic
The multi-talented McKellen offered his tips on how to make the simple dish in a video posted on Facebook.
Along with being both Gandalf and Magneto, as well as one of the most celebrated actors of his generation, it turns out Sir Ian McKellen is also a scrambled egg expert. In a video uploaded to his Facebook page the actor has shared how he makes the perfect scrambled eggs and we must say they do look delicious!
Ian McKellen could teach you a thing or two about making scrambled eggs.
In the video the 76 year old star of Mr Holmes shares the tips he learnt from his stepmother Gladys on how to make the breakfast staple. The actor begins by revealing that he neither mixes his eggs first nor uses the standard frying pan.
Continue reading: Sir Ian McKellen Is Here To Teach You How To Make Perfect Scrambled Eggs
The veteran actors have been putting a unique twist on some of Swifty’s finest lyrics this week.
Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart have become the unlikely new members of Taylor Swift’s ‘squad’ after the two legendary actors impressed the singer this week by reciting some of her lyrics. After both clips of the actors went viral Star Trek actor Stewart reached out to the singer on Twitter asking if he and BFF McKellen could become the newest members of Swift’s famous squad.
Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen have been reciting Taylor Swift lyrics.
It all started when McKellen, during the promotion of his latest film Mr Holmes, was filmed by Yahoo reading some of his ‘favourite’ lyrics which included Swift's ‘Bad Blood’ and Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' ‘Uptown Funk’.
The two legendary actor star together as a gay couple in PBS sitcom ‘Vicious’.
Sir Ian McKellen and his ‘Vicious’ co-star Derek Jacobi will both be serving as grand marshals of New York City's Pride parade this Sunday, just days after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, the two legendary actors who are both gay and 76 years old, gave their thoughts in the historic ruling, ahead of Sunday’s parade.
Ian McKellen will serve as a grand marshall at New York’s Pride Parade.
“I’m in a 38-year relationship with my civil partner, but I want to, someday soon, to get married. It’s such an advance, I think it’s extraordinary that we’ve come this far,” Jacobi said. “The thing about the Supreme Court is that it doesn’t lead the way; it actually confirms what’s already been happening,” McKellen added.
The veteran actor also denies worrying about adapting such an iconic character.
Sir Ian McKellen isn't the first person you'd think of to play Sherlock Holmes, currently incarnated on TV by brainy Benedict Cumberbatch and in movies by action-man Robert Downey Jr., but Mitch Cullin's novel A Slight Trick of the Mind centres on a 93-year-old Sherlock, and it has been made into the film Mr Holmes starring the 76-year-old McKellen.
Ian McKellen compares playing Holmes to playing Hamlet
"I needed more make-up to look 60 than I do to look 93," says McKellen of the two time periods depicted on-screen. But he wasn't worried about taking on such a venerable icon. "I mean, I played Hamlet. If you started thinking about all the people who've played Hamlet, you'd never step onto the stage."
Despite this being a film about Sherlock Holmes, the fact that it's not much of a mystery may disappoint die-hard fans, but as an astute drama it's more than worth a look because Ian McKellen is simply terrific in the title role. This is a much more complex character than he has been able to play recently either in movies (like the X-men and Lord of the Rings franchises) or television (the nutty sitcom Vicious). The film also reunites him with Bill Condon, who directed him to an Oscar nomination in Gods and Monsters 17 years ago.
It's 1947, and Sherlock is 93 years old when we meet him, living on the Sussex coast where he keeps bees and has befriended Roger (Milo Parker), the curious son of his tough-minded housekeeper Mrs Munro (Laura Linney). As Sherlock teaches Roger about both beekeeping and sleuthing, he is also trying to work out his final case some 30 years ago, which his mind simply refuses to recall. As he relives it in his mind, rather than through Watson's embellished account, all he can remember is a worried husband (Patrick Kennedy) asking him to follow his wife (Hattie Morahan). In addition, Sherlock is also still thinking about the things he discovered while recently in post-war Japan at the invitation of a fan (Hiroyuki Sanada).
The main story and the two flashback sequences are intriguingly intertwined in Sherlock's mind, offering parallel discoveries that help him piece together events that unfold in all three. It's a clever approach that allows McKellen to dig deep into the character as a man discovering that his mind is fading, perhaps into senility. His take on Sherlock is simply fascinating, a witty detective who has always resisted the fictional depiction of him in Watson's stories. And he's also an ageing man who hasn't lost his childlike curiosity, which makes his friendship with the young Roger surprisingly tender and engaging.
Continue reading: Mr. Holmes Review
Sir Ian McKellen delivers a stellar performance as Sherlock.
A little worried that Sir Ian McKellen had to match the likes of Robert Downey Jr and Benedict Cumberbatch as the super sleuth Sherlock Holmes? Well, you really shouldn't have. As with the Guy Ritchie's films and the acclaimed BBC series, Bill Condon's Mr Holmes is a fresh new take on the character and so far, the critics are loving it.
Sir Ian McKellen plays an aging Sherlock in Bill Condon's Mr Holmes
Grappling with the diminishing powers of his mind, Mr Holmes follows an aging Sherlock who returns from a journey to Japan where, in search of a rare plant with restorative qualities, witnessed the devastation of nuclear warfare. Now residing in a remote seaside farmhouse, content with tending to his bees, Holmes revisits the circumstances of his only unsolved case.
Continue reading: 'Mr Holmes' Has 100 Percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It's the Perfect Movie.
The 93-year-old actor has recently passed away
It’s been a sad day for many movie fans today as the news of Sir Christopher Lee’s death has filtered through the media. Lee took on a number of incredible characters throughout the decades he was on screen from Frankenstein in the Hammer Horror film, to Count Dracula and, latterly, after the turn of the Century and already over 50 years in the profession, as Darth Tyranus in Star Wars.
Sir Christopher Lee recently passed away at the age of 93
A character he didn’t portray, however, has become his lasting legacy on Twitter after many fans have posted their sorrow at the death of Gandalf.
Continue reading: Christopher Lee Fans Confuse Him For Gandalf In Their Twitter Tributes
The 'Lord of the Rings' star was awarded the honour in 1991.
Sir Ian McKellen has revealed he considered turning down his knighthood, because he believes the system is “unfair". The 75 year old was given the honour in 1991 for his services to the performing arts.
Sir Ian McKellen nearly didn't accept his knighthood.
Speaking to the Daily Mail's Weekend magazine McKellen said, "Frankly, I don't think we should have titles, really.It's a very strange system isn't it? Actors are more likely to get them than fire chiefs or people who have spent their lives doing charity work, which is a bit unfair, isn't it?”
Continue reading: Sir Ian McKellen Reveals He Nearly Turned Down His Knighthood
Date of birth
25th May, 1939