Entertainment

Who is Sir Ian McKellen? Meet Lord of The Rings Gandalf turned London theatre star


IT’S fair to say that Sir Ian McKellen is one of the most gifted and widely-respected actors in the world. Age has not slowed down the esteemed star, however in June 2024 the actor suffered a horror fall.

 Sir Ian McKellen's is one of Britain's most famous and respected acting export

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Sir Ian McKellen’s is one of Britain’s most famous and respected acting exportCredit: BBC

Who is Sir Ian McKellen?

Sir Ian McKellen is a veteran icon of screen and stage. He is of course best known to modern audiences for his role as Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. Sir Ian was born on May 25, 1939, and his family were from the Lancashire town of Burnley. Once grown up, he left the sleepy village for the bright lights of London, where he lives to this day.

Randomly, Sir Ian also owns the East End pub The Grapes, in Limehouse.

What is Sir Ian McKellen’s net worth?

It’s fair to say Sir Ian has racked up a fortune during his time as an actor. The hard-working star has a fortune of around £50M. This has been made through his high profile movie roles, including Lord of the Rings.

Is Sir Ian McKellen married?

Sir Ian has been openly gay since 1988. He is co-founder of Stonewall, an LGBT lobby rights group, and has had two high-profile relationships with Brian Taylor and Sean Matthias.

Inside the UK pub owned by a Hollywood A-lister – with famous punters & quizzes hosted by the actor

The latter lasted 10 years yet their conflicting careers – with Sean working as a film director – were said to have played a part in their split. Sir Ian is single after splitting from his boyfriend Oscar Conlon-Morrey in February 2024. The actor has been open about his sexuality since 1988 but sadly his parents never knew. Speaking about the relationship he had with his mum Margery and his dad Denis, he told The Jonathan Ross Show: “As close as you can be when your mother dies at 12 and dad dies when you’re 22. “Never told them I was gay for example. Didn’t see me do any of my best work. But I remember them with nothing but pleasure.”

My relationships with my family, with friends, with strangers, and my work got better as I wasn’t hiding anymore. Up to that point, my acting had really been about disguise and then when I could feel I was myself, it came about telling the truth.

Sir Ian on coming out as gay

He spoke about coming out in his 40s and said how it felt to not be “hiding anymore”. “I never stopped talking about it since. Made up for lost time. It changes your life utterly… I discovered myself. And everything was better,” Ian explained. “My relationships with my family, with friends, with strangers, and my work got better as I wasn’t hiding anymore.” “Up to that point, my acting had really been about disguise and then when I could feel I was myself, it came about telling the truth, which was much more interesting.”

 Sir Ian is best known for starring in the Lord of the Rings trilogy

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Sir Ian is best known for starring in the Lord of the Rings trilogyCredit: Alamy

What has Sir Ian Mckellen starred in?

Although the northern actor started his film career in 1969, in A Touch of Love, it wasn’t until the Nineties he became recognised for his work on-camera. In that decade he starred alongside Will Smith in Six Degrees of Separation as well as the title role in Richard III. After stints in X-Men and the action film’s sequels – where he starred alongside long-time friend and fellow Knight of the Realm Sir Patrick Stewart – he was cast as Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, where he was flagged up for a host of accolades. To great acclaim, he voiced Cogsworth, the Beast’s loyal butler, in Disney’s live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. Speaking of becoming famous later in life, Sir Ian previously revealed he was glad he found fame when he was older.

 The actor is also well known for the X Men series

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The actor is also well known for the X Men seriesCredit: Handout

Talking to The Guardian, he said: “If I had become a well-known film actor and thought, now I must have a film career, that’s a very difficult thing to organise.”

He went on: “Theatre is relatively easy if you’re British – you’re living in the theatre capital of the world, London, there are so many places you can work, still.

“If I had begun to think of myself as a film actor I think I would have got distracted.

“I’m much happier… it has all worked out wonderfully well. I was way into my 60s so my head was not likely to get swollen. I was just glad to be recognised as being an actor who was succeeding. I liked that side of the acclaim, if that’s what you call it. To be a star. That’s never appealed to me really.”

What happened to Sir Ian McKellen at Noel Coward Theatre?

On June 17, 2024, Sir Ian reportedly fell from the stage of the Noel Coward Theatre where he was performing at in the West End. Theatregoers said the actor screamed, “help me, my arms” after his horror fall. The acting legend lost his footing and fell off the stage while starring in Player Kings. A spokesperson for the theatre said Sir Ian is “in good spirits” and expected to make “a speedy and full recovery”.

 Sir Ian is seen here starring in theatre show, Player Kings

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Sir Ian is seen here starring in theatre show, Player KingsCredit: Getty

Who does Sir Ian McKellen play in Players Kings?

Sir Ian plays the character of John Falstaff in the production of Players Kings. The show is a production of Henry IV, Parts One and Two which has been adapted and directed by Robert Icke. The synopsis reads: “Hal wasn’t born to be king. Only now, it seems, he will be. “His father longs for him to leave behind his friends in the taverns of Eastcheap, most notably the infamous John Falstaff. “War is on the horizon. But will Hal ever come good?”

Where can I watch Sir Ian McKellen in Player Kings?

Theatre fans can watch Sir Ian in the Player Kings at the Noel Coward Theatre until June 22, 2024. After this the show will move to the Bristol Hippodrome in July 2024. Player Kings is also set to be staged in Birmingham, Norwich and Newcastle.

Sir Ian McKellen’s biggest movies

Over the years the esteemed actor has starred in a number of HUGE blockbuster movies.

The movie star’s biggest movies are:

  • Six Degrees of Separation (1993)
  • Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001 to 2003)
  • The Da Vinci Code (2006)
  • The Golden Compass (2007)
  • The X Men series ((2000, 2003, 2006, 2014)
  • The Hobbit Trilogy (2012 to 2014)
  • Beauty and The Beast (2017)

 



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