His career spans genres ranging from Shakespearean and modern theatre to popular fantasy and science fiction. The BBC states that his "performances have guaranteed him a place in the canon of English stage and film actors". In , McKellen made his first West End appearance. In , he was invited to join the Prospect Theatre Company to play the lead parts in Shakespeare's Richard II and Marlowe 's Edward II , and he firmly established himself as one of the country's foremost classical actors.
McKellen was knighted in the New Year Honours for services to the performing arts, and made a Companion of Honour for services to drama and to equality in the New Year Honours. He was awarded Freedom of the City of London in October He was their second child, with a sister, Jean, five years his senior. They lived there until Ian was twelve years old, before relocating to Bolton in , after his father had been promoted.
McKellen's father was a civil engineer  and lay preacher, and was of Protestant Irish and Scottish descent. After his coming out as gay to his stepmother, Gladys McKellen, who was a Quaker , he said, "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. 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".
McKellen attended Bolton School Boys' Division ,  of which he is still a supporter, attending regularly to talk to pupils. McKellen's acting career started at Bolton Little Theatre , of which he is now the patron. His 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.
While at Cambridge, McKellen was a member of the Marlowe Society , where he appeared in 23 plays over the course of 3 years. McKellen made his first professional appearance in at the Belgrade Theatre , 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. After four years in regional repertory theatres he made his first West End appearance, in A Scent of Flowers , regarded as a "notable success".
In the s and s McKellen became a well-known figure in British theatre, performing frequently at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre , where he played several leading Shakespearean roles, including the title role in Macbeth which he had first played for Trevor Nunn in a "gripping The show toured across the UK and Ireland raising money for each venue and organisation's charity before a West End run at the Harold Pinter Theatre and was performed for one night only on Broadway at the Hudson Theatre.
McKellen had taken film roles throughout his career—beginning in with his role of George Matthews in A Touch of Love , and his first leading role was in as D. Lawrence in Priest of Love ,  but it was not until the s that he became more widely recognised in this medium after several roles in blockbuster Hollywood films. In the same year, he appeared in minor roles in the television miniseries Tales of the City , based on the novel by his friend Armistead Maupin , and the film Last Action Hero , in which he briefly played Death opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger and Charles Dance.
The film was a critical success. He appeared in the modestly acclaimed film  Apt Pupil , which was directed by Bryan Singer and based on a story by Stephen King. McKellen portrayed a fugitive Nazi officer living under a false name in the US who is befriended by a curious teenager Brad Renfro who threatens to expose him unless he tells his story in detail. He provided the voice of Gandalf for several video game adaptations of the Lord of the Rings films,  then reprised the role on screen in Jackson's film adaptation of The Hobbit , which was released in three parts from to On 16 March , he hosted Saturday Night Live.
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In April and May , he played the role of Mel Hutchwright in Granada Television 's long running British soap opera, Coronation Street , fulfilling a lifelong ambition. He narrated Richard Bell 's film Eighteen as a grandfather who leaves his World War II memoirs on audio-cassette for his teenage grandson.
McKellen has appeared in limited release films, such as Emile which was shot in three weeks following the X2 shoot ,  Neverwas and Asylum. During a 17 May interview on The Today Show with the Da Vinci Code cast and director, Matt Lauer posed a question to the group about how they would have felt if the film had borne a prominent disclaimer that it is a work of fiction, as some religious groups wanted. It takes And I have faith in this movie—not that it's true, not that it's factual, but that it's a jolly good story. The series revolves around an elderly gay couple who have been together for 50 years.
A six-episode second series began airing in June Holmes and co-starred alongside Emma Watson and Dan Stevens. The documentary explores McKellen's life and career as an actor. McKellen and his first partner, Brian Taylor, a history teacher from Bolton , began their relationship in They lived in London, where McKellen continued to pursue his career as an actor. For over a decade, he has lived in a five-storey Victorian conversion in Narrow Street , Limehouse. This relationship lasted until , and according to Mathias, was tempestuous, with conflicts over McKellen's success in acting versus Mathias's somewhat less-successful career.
The pair entered into a business partnership with Evgeny Lebedev , purchasing the lease of The Grapes public house in Narrow Street. McKellen is an atheist. He has a tattoo of the Elvish number nine, written using J.
Tolkien 's constructed script of Tengwar , on his shoulder in reference to his involvement in the Lord of the Rings and the fact that his character was one of the original nine companions of the Fellowship of the Ring. John Rhys-Davies , whose character was also one of the original nine companions, arranged for his stunt double to get the tattoo instead. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in I am examined regularly and the cancer is contained. I've not needed any treatment. He became an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church in early  in order to preside over the marriage of his friend and X-Men co-star Patrick Stewart to the singer Sunny Ozell.
The ceremony took place at Guildhall in London. McKellen was nominated by London's Lord Mayor Fiona Woolf , who said he was chosen as he was an "exceptional actor" and "tireless campaigner for equality". While McKellen had made his sexual orientation known to fellow actors early on in his stage career, it was not until that he came out to the general public, in a programme on BBC Radio. I have many regrets about not having come out earlier, but one of them might be that I didn't engage myself in the politicking.
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. Section 28 was, however, enacted and remained on the statute books until in Scotland and in England and Wales. Section 28 never applied in Northern Ireland.
In , during an appearance on Have I Got News For You , McKellen claimed when he visited Michael Howard , then Environment Secretary responsible for local government , in to lobby against Section 28, Howard refused to change his position but did ask him to leave an autograph for his children. McKellen agreed, but wrote, "Fuck off, I'm gay.
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In a statement on his website regarding his activism, the actor commented that:. I have been reluctant to lobby on other issues I most care about—nuclear weapons against , religion atheist , capital punishment anti , AIDS fund-raiser because I never want to be forever spouting, diluting the impact of addressing my most urgent concern; legal and social equality for gay people worldwide. In , at the closing ceremony of the Gay Games , he briefly took the stage to address the crowd, saying, "I'm Sir Ian McKellen, but you can call me Serena": This nickname, given to him by Stephen Fry , had been circulating within the gay community since McKellen's knighthood was conferred.
I send my love to all members of Oxford Pride, their sponsors and supporters, of which I am proud to be one Onlookers can be impressed by our confidence and determination to be ourselves and gay people, of whatever age, can be comforted by the occasion to take the first steps towards coming out and leaving the closet forever behind.
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 , 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. In , he was named in the top 10 on the World Pride Power list.
All three actors gave their time free of charge. A cricket fan since childhood, McKellen umpired in March for a charity cricket match in New Zealand to support earthquake victims of the February Christchurch earthquake. He was honoured by the organisation in  and hosted their annual Make Believe on Broadway Gala in November McKellen also has a history of supporting individual theatres. McKellen said he opted to help save the building as it was the last theatre he played in New Zealand Waiting for Godot in and the locals' love for it made it a place worth supporting.
Together with a number of his Lord of the Rings co-stars plus writer Philippa Boyens and director Peter Jackson , on 1 June 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. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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CH CBE. Burnley , Lancashire , England. Brian Taylor — Sean Mathias — Main article: Ian McKellen, roles and awards. Entertainment Weekly Time Inc. Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 24 October Retrieved 4 February McKellen is recognised as one of the greatest living actors.
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BBC News. Archived from the original on 6 February Retrieved 3 February British Council. Archived from the original on 14 November Retrieved 13 November The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 9 April Retrieved 3 April The London Gazette Supplement. Archived from the original on 1 July Retrieved 18 July The Independent.
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