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Ian McKellen's Biography
English stage and screen actor who achieved worldwide fame for his film roles, including the titular King in Richard III (1995), James Whale in Gods and Monsters (1998), Magneto in the X-Men films, and Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. A recipient of every major theatrical award in the UK, McKellen is regarded as a British cultural icon.
His career spans genres ranging from Shakespearean and modern theatre to popular fantasy and science fiction. He is the recipient of six Laurence Olivier Awards, a Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BIF Award, two Saturn Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, and two Critics’ Choice Awards. He has also received nominations for two Academy Awards, five Primetime Emmy Awards, and four BAFTAs.
One of the theater’s finest classical actors, he began performing in college and in 1961, rapidly established his reputation on stage. His one-man play was a tour-de-force, Ian McKellen Acting Shakespeare. His powerful performance of Salieri in the Broadway production of Amadeus earned him a Tony in 1981.
An early fascination with theatre was encouraged by his family. When he was three, he was taken to see Peter Pan and when seven, he had a toy Victorian theatre complete with cutout actors on wire to move about. His sisters took him to see his first Shakespeare. McKellen graduated from Cambridge with a B.A. in 1961. Though he had not attended drama school, he had played in 21 undergraduate performances. His first professional play was a small role in Belgrade Theatre Coventry’s production of A Man For All Seasons.
After a successful run on the British stage and Broadway, he firmly established the stage as his medium. His early sorties into the film genre were with Shakespeare works. In 1989 he had a supporting role in Scandal and four years later played in Schwarzenegger’s Last Action Hero. His appearances have been remarkable in such films as Six Degrees of Separation (1993) and Love and Death on Long Island (1998).
Openly gay since 1988, he has been a leading spokesman for gay rights in Britain. In 1990, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. He has a riverside terraced house in Limehouse within sight of both Canary Warf and Tower Bridge in London.
Adding to his vast body of work, he once again impressed audiences by his portrayal of Gandalf in the hugely-successful films, the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson. The three films were released at Christmas time in 2001, 2002, and 2003.
Link to Wikipedia biography