88 Facts About Ian McKellen


Sir Ian Murray McKellen was born on 25 May 1939 and is an English actor.


Ian McKellen is regarded as a British cultural icon and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1991.


Ian McKellen has received numerous accolades, including a Tony Award, six Olivier Awards, and a Golden Globe Award as well as nominations for two Academy Awards, five BAFTA Awards and five Emmy Awards.


Ian McKellen has earned five Olivier Awards for his roles in Pillars of the Community, The Alchemist, Bent, Wild Honey, and Richard III.


Ian McKellen made his Broadway debut in The Promise.


Ian McKellen went on to receive the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his role as Antonio Salieri in Amadeus.


Ian McKellen was further nominated for Ian McKellen: Acting Shakespeare.


Ian McKellen returned to Broadway in Wild Honey, Dance of Death, No Man's Land, and Waiting for Godot, the later being a joint production with Patrick Stewart.


Ian McKellen achieved worldwide fame for his film roles, including the titular King in Richard III, James Whale in Gods and Monsters, Magneto in the X-Men films, and Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.


Ian McKellen came out as gay in 1988, and has since championed LGBT social movements worldwide.


Ian McKellen was awarded the Freedom of the City of London in October 2014.


Ian McKellen is a co-founder of Stonewall, an LGBT rights lobby group in the United Kingdom, named after the Stonewall riots.


Ian McKellen is patron of LGBT History Month, Pride London, Oxford Pride, GAY-GLOS, LGBT Foundation and FFLAG.


Ian McKellen was born on 25 May 1939 in Burnley, Lancashire, the son of Margery Lois and Denis Murray Ian McKellen.


Ian McKellen was their second child, with a sister, Jean, five years his senior.


Ian McKellen's father was a civil engineer and lay preacher, and was of Protestant Irish and Scottish descent.


Ian McKellen's great-great-grandfather Robert J Lowes was an activist and campaigner in the ultimately successful campaign for a Saturday half-holiday in Manchester, the forerunner to the modern five-day work week, thus making Lowes a "grandfather of the modern weekend".


Ian McKellen attended Bolton School, of which he is still a supporter, attending regularly to talk to pupils.


Ian McKellen's acting career started at Bolton Little Theatre, of which he is the patron.


Ian McKellen's sister took him to his first Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night, by the amateurs of Wigan's Little Theatre, shortly followed by their Macbeth and Wigan High School for Girls' production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, with music by Mendelssohn, with the role of Bottom played by Jean McKellen, who continued to act, direct, and produce amateur theatre until her death.


Ian McKellen has since been made an Honorary Fellow of the college.


Ian McKellen made his first professional appearance in 1961 at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry, as Roper in A Man for All Seasons, although an audio recording of the Marlowe Society's Cymbeline had gone on commercial sale as part of the Argo Shakespeare series.


From 1973 to 1974, Ian McKellen toured the United Kingdom and Brooklyn Academy of Music portraying Lady Wishfort's Footman, Kruschov, and Edgar in the William Congreve comedy The Way of the World, Anton Chekov's comedic three-act play The Wood Demon and William Shakespeare tragedy King Lear.


In 1979, Ian McKellen gained acclaim for his role as Antonio Salieri in the Broadway transfer production of Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus.


Ian McKellen later wrote, "Mr McKellen finds himself in the peculiar predicament of the star who strains to carry a frail supporting cast".


From 1993 to 1997 Ian McKellen toured in a one-man show entitled, A Knights Out, about coming out as a gay man.


Ian McKellen returned to the Broadway stage in 2001 in a August Strindberg play The Dance of Death alongside Helen Mirren, and David Strathairn at the Broadhurst Theatre.


Ian McKellen toured with the production at the Lyric Theatre in London's West End and to the Sydney Art's Festival in Australia.


Ian McKellen is Patron of English Touring Theatre and President and Patron of the Little Theatre Guild of Great Britain, an association of amateur theatre organisations throughout the UK.


In October 2017, Ian McKellen played King Lear at the Chichester Festival Theatre, a role which he said was likely to be his "last big Shakespearean part".


Ian McKellen performed the play at the Duke of York's Theatre in London's West End during the summer of 2018.


In 1969, Ian McKellen starred in three films, Michael Hayes's The Promise, Clive Donner's epic film Alfred the Great, and Waris Hussein's A Touch of Love.


Ian McKellen followed up with Michael Mann's horror film The Keep.


Ian McKellen starred in the British drama Scandal a fictionalised account of the Profumo affair that rocked the government of British prime minister Harold Macmillan.


Ian McKellen starred alongside Will Smith, Donald Sutherland and Stockard Channing.


In 1995, Ian McKellen made his screenwriting debut with Richard III, an ambitious adaptation of William Shakespeare's play of the same name, directed by Richard Loncraine.


Ian McKellen's screenplay was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.


Ian McKellen appeared in the British romantic comedy Jack and Sarah starring Richard E Grant, Samantha Mathis, and Dame Judi Dench.


Ian McKellen portrayed a fugitive Nazi officer living under a false name in the US who is befriended by a curious teenager who threatens to expose him unless he tells his story in detail.


In 1999, Ian McKellen was cast, again under the direction of Bryan Singer, to play the comic book supervillain Magneto in the 2000 film X-Men and its sequels X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand.


Ian McKellen later reprised his role of Magneto in 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past, sharing the role with Michael Fassbender, who played a younger version of the character in 2011's X-Men: First Class.


Ian McKellen received honours from the Screen Actors Guild for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for his work in The Fellowship of the Ring and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the same role.


Ian McKellen provided the voice of Gandalf for several video game adaptations of the Lord of the Rings films.


Ian McKellen has appeared in limited release films, such as Emile, Neverwas and Asylum.


Ian McKellen continued, "And I think audiences are clever enough and bright enough to separate out fact and fiction, and discuss the thing when they've seen it".


In 2007, Ian McKellen narrated the romantic fantasy adventure film Stardust starring Charlie Cox and Claire Danes, which was a critical and financial success.


Ian McKellen reprised the role of Gandalf on screen in Peter Jackson's three-part film adaptation of The Hobbit starting with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, followed by The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and finally The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.


In 2015, Ian McKellen reunited with director Bill Condon playing an elderly Sherlock Holmes in the mystery film Mr Holmes alongside Laura Linney.


The film premiered at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival with Ian McKellen receiving acclaim for his performance.


In 2017, Ian McKellen portrayed in a supporting role as Cogsworth in the live-action adaptation of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, directed by Bill Condon and co-starred alongside Emma Watson and Dan Stevens.


Later that year, Ian McKellen appeared in the HBO television film And the Band Played On based on the acclaimed novel of the same name about the discovery of HIV.


Ian McKellen appeared as Mr Creakle in the BBC series David Copperfield based on the Charles Dickens classic novel.


In 2003, Ian McKellen made a guest appearance as himself on the American cartoon show The Simpsons in a special British-themed episode entitled "The Regina Monologues", along with the then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and author JK Rowling.


Ian McKellen narrated Richard Bell's film Eighteen as a grandfather who leaves his World War II memoirs on audio-cassette for his teenage grandson.


Ian McKellen appeared in the 2006 BBC series of Ricky Gervais's comedy series Extras, where he played himself directing Gervais's character Andy Millman in a play about gay lovers.


In November 2013, Ian McKellen appeared in the Doctor Who 50th anniversary comedy homage The Five Doctors Reboot.


From 2013 to 2016, Ian McKellen co-starred in the ITV sitcom Vicious as Freddie Thornhill, alongside Derek Jacobi.


In October 2015, Ian McKellen appeared as Norman to Anthony Hopkins's Sir in a BBC Two production of Ronald Harwood's The Dresser, alongside Edward Fox, Vanessa Kirby, and Emily Watson.


Television critic Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter praised the film and the central performances writing, "there's no escaping that Hopkins and Ian McKellen are the central figures here, giving wonderfully nuanced performances, onscreen together for their first time in their acclaimed careers".


In 2017, Ian McKellen appeared in the documentary Ian McKellen: Playing the Part, directed by director Joe Stephenson.


In 2001, Ian McKellen received the Artist Citizen of the World Award.


Ian McKellen became an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church in early 2013 in order to preside over the marriage of his friend and X-Men co-star Patrick Stewart to the singer Sunny Ozell.


Ian McKellen was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters by Cambridge University on 18 June 2014.


Ian McKellen was made a Freeman of the City of London on Thursday 30 October 2014.


Ian McKellen is an Emeritus Fellow of St Catherine's College, Oxford.


The context that prompted Ian McKellen's decision, overriding any concerns about a possible negative effect on his career, was that the controversial Section 28 of the Local Government Bill, known simply as Section 28, was then under consideration in the British Parliament.


Ian McKellen became active in fighting the proposed law, and, during a BBC Radio 3 programme where he debated Section 28 with the conservative journalist Peregrine Worsthorne, came out as gay.


Ian McKellen has stated that he was influenced in his decision by the advice and support of his friends, among them noted gay author Armistead Maupin.


My own participating in that campaign was a focus for people [to] take comfort that if Ian McKellen was on board for this, perhaps it would be all right for other people to be as well, gay and straight.


In 2003, during an appearance on Have I Got News For You, Ian McKellen claimed when he visited Michael Howard, then Environment Secretary, in 1988 to lobby against Section 28, Howard refused to change his position but did ask him to leave an autograph for his children.


Ian McKellen described Howard's junior ministers, Conservatives David Wilshire and Jill Knight, who were the architects of Section 28, as the 'ugly sisters' of a political pantomime.


Ian McKellen has continued to be very active in LGBT rights efforts.


Ian McKellen is a co-founder of Stonewall, an LGBT rights lobby group in the United Kingdom, named after the Stonewall riots.


Ian McKellen is patron of LGBT History Month, Pride London, Oxford Pride, GAY-GLOS, LGBT Foundation and FFLAG where he appears in their video "Parents Talking".


In 2006, Ian McKellen spoke at the pre-launch of the 2007 LGBT History Month in the UK, lending his support to the organisation and its founder, Sue Sanders.


Ian McKellen has taken his activism internationally, and caused a major stir in Singapore, where he was invited to do an interview on a morning show and shocked the interviewer by asking if they could recommend him a gay bar; the programme immediately ended.


In 2010, McKellen extended his support for Liverpool's Homotopia festival in which a group of gay and lesbian Merseyside teenagers helped to produce an anti-homophobia campaign pack for schools and youth centres across the city.


Ian McKellen is an honorary board member for the New York- and Washington, DC-based organization Only Make Believe.


Ian McKellen was honoured by the organisation in 2012 and hosted their annual Make Believe on Broadway Gala in November 2013.


Ian McKellen garnered publicity for the organisation by stripping down to his Lord of the Rings underwear on stage.


Ian McKellen said he opted to help save the building as it was the last theatre he played in New Zealand and the locals' love for it made it a place worth supporting.


Together with a number of his Lord of the Rings co-stars, on 1 June 2020 Ian McKellen joined Josh Gad's YouTube series Reunited Apart which reunites the cast of popular movies through video-conferencing, and promotes donations to non-profit charities.


Ian McKellen took part in the 2012 Summer Paralympics opening ceremony in London as Prospero from Shakespeare's The Tempest.


Ian McKellen has received two Academy Award nominations for his performances in Gods and Monsters, and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.


Ian McKellen has received two Tony Award nominations winning for Best Actor in a Play for his performance in Amadeus in 1981.


Ian McKellen has received 12 Laurence Olivier Awards nominations winning 6 awards for his performances in Pillars of the Community, The Alchemist, Bent, Wild Honey, Richard III, and Ian McKellen on Stage: With Tolkien, Shakespeare, Others and YOU.


Ian McKellen received Evening Standard Awards The Lebedev Special Award in 2009.


Ian McKellen was knighted in 1991 for services to the performing arts, and made a Companion of Honour for services to drama and to equality in the 2008 New Year Honours.