English stage and screen actor Sir Ian Murray McKellen was born on May 25, 1939 in Lancashire, England. His acting career began when he studied in Bolton School, starting out at Bolton Little Theatre, of which he is the Patron.
Ian McKellen made his stage debut in Coventry in 1961 and his West End debut in 1964. The role he became famous for was his portrayal of King Edward II in the 1969 production of Marlowe’s Edward II. In 1972, McKellen founded the Actors’ Company with his friend Edward Petherbridge. He has also played leading roles in productions of the Royal Shakespeare Company, including Romeo and Juliet, MacBeth and 1977’s The Alchemist. In 1980, he won the part of Saliere in the Broadway production of Amadeus and was awarded the Tony Award.
His number of film roles began with the 1969 drama A Touch of Love. It wasn’t until the 1990s that he became more widely recognized. In 1993, he was given a supporting role in Six Degrees of Separation, which was followed by parts in many TV series and movies. He was in Cold Comfort Farm as Amos Stakadder and played Tsar Nicholas II in Rasputin. He had the title role in 1995’s Richard III, a film he also co-wrote. His performance was critically acclaimed, and he won the European Film Award for Best Actor.
He was widely noticed in America for his role in the adaptation of Stephen King’s story, Apt Pupil. He was also applauded for his performance in the 1998 Gods and Monsters, where he played James Whale, the gay director of Showboat, and was in Frankenstein. Other blockbuster films that he has appeared in include X-Men and its sequels, X2: X-men United and X-men: The Last Stand. He was subsequently cast as the wizard Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s three-film adaptation of J.R.R.Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.
McKellen has also hosted Saturday Night Live, as well as voiced himself as a guest character in The Simpsons. He narrated Richard Bell’s Eighteen, and also appeared in The Da Vinci Code as Sir Leigh Teabing.
-In order to keep fit, at the age of 69, Sir Ian took up Thai kick boxing.
-Ian McKellen refuses to write an autobiography, because he wouldn't be able to write about his death, which would leave his story incomplete.
-Sir Ian used his homosexuality as an inspiration for playing the role of Magneto in the X-Men movies. He takes exception to the common assumption that homosexuals can be 'cured', and channeled this into his acting in the latest installment in the trilogy, where a machine is used to "cure" mutants.
-Sir Ian has attacked British laws allowing homosexual couples to form civil unions, saying they are absurd and insisting that they discriminate against both homosexual and heterosexual couples.
-Ian is a vegetarian.
1981: New York Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play, for Amadeus
1984: London Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Revival, for Wild Honey
1984: London Evening Standard Award for Best Actor, for Coriolanus
1989: London Evening Standard Award for Best Actor, for Othello
1990: London Olivier Award for Best Actor, for Richard III
1996: European Film Award for Best Actor, for Richard III
1997: Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie, for Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny
1998: Back Stage West Garland Awards, for his one-man show A Knight Out in Los Angeles
1998: National Board of Review for Best Actor, for Gods and Monsters
1999: Independent Spirit Award for Best Actor, for Gods and Monsters
2001: Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor, for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
2004: Manila, Philippines Pride International Film Festival's Lifetime Achievement & Distinction Award
2007: Annie Award for Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production, for Flushed Away
In May 2007, he was named, by the Independent on Sunday Pink List, the fifth most influential gay person in Britain, down from the 1st place the previous year.
The Promise Alfred the Great
A Touch of Love
1981 Priest of Love
1982 The Scarlet Pimpernel
1983 The Keep
1985 Plenty Zina
Six Degrees of Seperation
The Ballad of Little Jo
Last Action Hero
And the Band Played On
To Die For The Shadow
I'll Do Anything
Jack and Sarah
Swept from the Sea
Gods and Monsters
2001 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
The Magic Roundabout
X-Men: The Last Stand
The Da Vinci Code
The Golden Compass
(about his character Magneto in the X-Men movies)
-He hasn't been given a love line, which I think is a pity. It would be wonderful if the camera hovered over Magneto's bed, to discover him making love to Professor X.
(about his character Magneto in the X-Men movies)
-I'd like to see him at the gym, because in the comics he has the most amazing body. I'm the slimline version of Magneto, but of course, these days you could morph my body into something really fantastic.
-But I know in my heart of hearts that when that little five-year-old looks up at me and asks for my autograph, that basically what they're asking is Gandalf for his autograph but that's fine with me.
-I got very upset when one of the actors said it was the most terrifying job he'd ever had because it involved him kissing another man. Imagine how rude that is. Suppose I'd said the most appalling thing I ever had to do was kiss Helen Mirren!