photo credits: Wikimedia Commons
genre: Shakespearean comedy
country of citizenship: United Kingdom
native language: English
languages spoken, written or signed: English
educated at: St Catharine's College, Cambridge, Bolton School
occupation: voice actor, screenwriter, stage actor, film actor, actor, preface author, theatrical director, television actor
award received: Laurence Olivier Award for Actor of the Year in a Revival, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Donostia Award, Annie Award for Voice Acting in a Feature Production, Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play, Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Actor, European Film Award for Best Actor, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast, Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film, Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor, Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy Performance, Laurence Olivier Award for Actor of the Year in a New Play, Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor, Empire Icon Award, Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play, Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show, Knight Bachelor
position held: fellow
Sir Ian Murray McKellen (born 25 May 1939) is an English actor. His career spans six decades, having performed in genres ranging from Shakespearean and modern theatre to popular fantasy and science fiction. Over his career he has received numerous awards including seven Laurence Olivier Awards, a Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. He has also received nominations for two Academy Awards, five Primetime Emmy Awards, and four BAFTAs.
He 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.
The BBC states that his "performances have guaranteed him a place in the canon of English stage and film actors". A recipient of every major theatrical award in the UK, McKellen is regarded as a British cultural icon. He started his professional career in 1961 at the Belgrade Theatre as a member of their highly regarded repertory company. In 1965, McKellen made his first West End appearance. In 1969, 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. In the 1970s, McKellen became a stalwart of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre of Great Britain. In 1981 he received his first Tony Award nomination and win for Best Actor in a Play for his role as Antonio Salieri in Amadeus.
McKellen was knighted in the 1991 New Year Honours for services to the performing arts, and made a Companion of Honour for services to drama and to equality in the 2008 New Year Honours. He is gay and has been open about his sexuality since 1988, and continues to champion LGBT social movements worldwide. He was awarded the Freedom of the City of London in October 2014.
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