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Sir Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen by Gage Skidmore.jpg
McKellen at the San Diego Comic-Con International in July 2013.
Ian Murray McKellen

(1939-05-25) 25 May 1939 (age 82)[1]
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge
Years active1959–present
Partner(s)Brian Taylor (1964–1972)
Sean Mathias (1978–1988)

Sir Ian Murray McKellen (born 25 May 1939) is an English actor in theatre and movies. He got a Tony Award and two Oscar nominations.


He was born in Burnley, Lancashire. In 1939, he moved to Wigan. In 1951, he moved to Bolton.

His work has spanned genres from serious Shakespearean and modern theatre to popular fantasy and science fiction movies.

In a television movie role in 1970 titled Edward II, he and his co-star, James Laurenson kissed in British television's first gay kiss.[2]

Best known for his roles as Gandalf in the 2001-2003 Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, as Sir Leigh Teabing in The Da Vinci Code, and as Magneto in the X-Men series of movies.

He is openly gay and is a prominent activist for the rights of LGBT people. He said that the reason why he took the role in the X-Men movies was because of his sexuality.[3] He said: "Mutants are like gays. They’re cast out by society for no good reason".[3]

He was made a CBE in 1979 and knighted in 1990 for his outstanding work and contributions to the theatre. In 2008 he was made a Companion of Honour.

McKellen said in 2012 that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2006.[4]



  1. Monitor. Time Inc.. May 25, 2012. p. 21. 
  2. "Video: Sir Ian McKellen on Edward II and British TV's first gay kiss". Retrieved 27 July 2020. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Ian McKellen Took ‘X-Men’ Role Because Of Gay Rights Parallel". Huffington Post. Retrieved 11 July 2020. 
  4. Ian McKellen is battling prostate cancer

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