Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen Headshot

Actor

Birth Name: Ian Murray McKellen

Birth Date: May 25, 1939

Age: 84 years old

Birth Place: Burnley, Lancashire, England, UK

While he remained best known for his starring roles in the "Lord of the Rings" and "X-Men" franchises, Ian McKellen's list of accomplishments went beyond the Hollywood blockbusters that made him a star in the U.S. Born in Lancashire, England in 1939, McKellen took an interest in theater at the age of three when his family attended a performance of "Peter Pan." He performed in plays at school and even at home using a fold-away toy theater made of wood and Bakelite that his parents gave him for Christmas. Eventually, McKellen received a scholarship to attend St Catharine's College, Cambridge, where he was a member of the Marlowe Society, appearing in 23 plays during his three years there. After graduating, he moved on to professional theater, making his debut in 1961 in a production of "A Man for All Seasons" at Coventry's Belgrade Theatre. He spent the next few years gaining experience in repertory theater before landing his first West End role in "A Scent of Flowers." In 1965, he became a member of Laurence Olivier's National Theatre Company at the Old Vic and was soon acting with the Prospect Theatre Company as well, where his performances in Shakespeare's "Richard III" and Christopher Marlowe's "Edward II" quickly became legendary. McKellen became a star of England's theater scene, performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre, all while simultaneously pursuing roles on screen as well. In 1966, he starred in a BBC mini-series adaptation of "David Copperfield" (BBC, 1966-1966), shortly before crossing the Atlantic to make his Broadway debut as Leonidik in "The Promise." In 1969, he made his waves in film, co-starring in the drama "A Touch of Love" (1969 and then reprising the role of Leodinik for a film adaptation of "The Promise" (1969). This oscillation between stage and screen would remain a pattern for McKellen's career, always with a strong focus on Shakespeare and other classics, with roles like Salieri in Broadway's "Amadeus" and D.H. Lawrence in the big screen's "Priest of Love" (1981) standing out amongst his more notable roles. As the '90s began, McKellen transitioned into more popular media, playing one of the villains in the action blockbuster "The Last Action Hero" (1993), and standing up for increased visibility for the LGBTQ community with his roles in "And the Band Played On" (HBO, 1993) and "Bent" (1997). In 1998, McKellen garnered particular praise and attention for his role in the James Whale biopic "Gods and Monsters" (1998), which earned him a number of awards nominations to boot. Within two years, McKellen was expanding into international pop culture as never before when he took on the role of the powerful villain Magneto in "X-Men" (2000) opposite fellow legend of the Shakespearean stage Patrick Stewart. McKellen would return for two more "X-Men" sequels while he simultaneously co-starred as the wizard Gandalf in the massively popular "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. By the time he had concluded both series in 2006, McKellen was a massive star, but he continued to choose his roles carefully, co-starring on a reboot of the classic surrealistic TV series "The Prisoner" (ITV, 2009) and reuniting with Patrick Stewart for an acclaimed Broadway revival of "Waiting for Godot" in 2013. McKellen reprised the role of Gandalf for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (2012) and its two sequels, and earned accolades for his performance on the comedy series "Vicious" (ITV, 2013-16) with fellow Royal Shakespeare Company alumn Derek Jacobi. McKellen also delighted audiences with a turn as Cogsworth in the live action remake of "Beauty and the Beast" (2017), but his Shakespearean leanings were never far behind as he co-starred with Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench in Branagh's biopic of the playwright, "All is True" (2018).

Credits

The Life and Death of Lily Savage

Self
Show
2024

Hamlet

Actor
Hamlet
Movie
2024

Sir Ian McKellen Remembers... All Is True

Self
Show
2023

Hamlet Within

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The Ghost
Movie
2023

Freedom: 50 Years of Pride

Self
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2022

Happy Birthday Bill

Narrator
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2022

Amol Rajan Interviews

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2022

The John Bishop Show

Self
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2022

Infinitum: Subject Unknown

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Dr Charles Marland-White
Movie
2021

Hating Peter Tatchell

Self
Movie
2021

The Poet Laureate Has Gone to His Shed

Self
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2020

Du Fu: China's Greatest Poet

Self
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2020

What's on Scotland

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2019

The Good Liar

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Roy Courtnay
Movie
2019

CatsStream

Actor
Gus
Movie
2019
19%

On Broadway

Self
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2019

The Late Late Show with James Corden: UK Specials

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2018

All Is TrueStream

Actor
Henry Wriothesley
Movie
2018
72%

Sir Peter Hall Remembered

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2017

The Paul O'Grady Story

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2017

Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen &...: Something There (From Beauty and the Beast/Audio only)

Music Performer
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2017

Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw & Ian McKellen: Be Our Guest (From Beauty and the Beast/Audio Only)

Music Performer
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2017

Adam Mitchell, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Emma Watson

Music Performer
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2017

Beauty and the BeastStream

Actor
Cogsworth
Movie
2017
71%

McKellen: Playing the Part

Self
Movie
2017

Animal Crackers

Voice
Horatio P. Huntington
Movie
2017

Vicious Special

Actor
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2016

X-Men: Apocalypse Interview Special

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2016

Shakespeare Live! From the RSC

Actor
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2016

The DresserStream

Actor
Movie
2015
100%

The Late Show With Stephen ColbertStream

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Talk
2015

Muslim Drag Queens

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2015

Vicious: Extras

Actor
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2015

Red Nose Day

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2015

The Late Late Show With James Corden

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Talk
2015

Mr. HolmesStream

Actor
Sherlock Holmes
Movie
2015
88%

The Dresser

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Norman
Movie
2015

Variety Studio: Actors on Actors

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2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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Gandalf
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2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past Interview Special

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2014

Late Night With Seth MeyersStream

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Talk
2014

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonStream

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2014

X-Men: Days of Future PastStream

Actor
Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto
Movie
2014
90%

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five ArmiesStream

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Gandalf
Movie
2014
59%

Miss in Her Teens

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The Prologue
Movie
2014

David Sheehan's Holiday Movie Magic

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2013

Great West End Theatres

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2013

Great West End Theatres

Self
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2013

ViciousStream

Actor
Freddie
Series
2013

Pavarotti: The Last Tenor

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2013

Muse of Fire

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Movie
2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugStream

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Gandalf
Movie
2013
75%

Looking for Lowry

Actor
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2012

Anderson Live

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2012

Live! With Kelly and Michael

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Talk
2012

Entertainment Studios.TV

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2012

Shakespeare UncoveredStream

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2012

Believe It!

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2012

CBS This Morning

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2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyStream

Actor
Gandalf
Movie
2012
64%

The Jonathan Ross ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2011

The Talk

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Talk
2010

A Lost and Found Box of Human Sensation

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2010

The Prisoner

Actor
Two
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2009

The Prisioner

Actor
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2009

Alan Carr: Chatty Man

Actor
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2009

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

Guest
Talk
2009

King Lear

Actor
King Lear
Movie
2008

The Graham Norton ShowStream

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Talk
2007

StardustStream

Narrator
Movie
2007
77%

The Golden CompassStream

Voice
Iorek Byrnison
Movie
2007
42%

The One Show

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2006

X-Men: The Last Stand

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2006

etalk

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2006

Displaced

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2006

X-Men: The Last StandStream

Actor
Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto
Movie
2006
57%

The Da Vinci CodeStream

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Sir Leigh Teabing
Movie
2006
25%

Flushed AwayStream

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Toad
Movie
2006
73%

Doogal

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Zebedee
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2006

Saint of 9/11

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2006

Heroes of Comedy

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2005

The Colbert Report

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2005

ExtrasStream

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Series
2005
88%

The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson

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2005

Neverwas

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Gabriel Finch
Movie
2005

The Magic Roundabout

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Zebedee
Movie
2005

Eighteen

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Jason Anders
Movie
2005

The Hobart Shakespeareans

Self
Movie
2005

Asylum

Actor
Peter Cleave
Movie
2005

Who Do You Think You Are?

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2004

Tavis Smiley

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Talk
2004

Churchill

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2003

X2: X-Men UnitedStream

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Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto
Movie
2003
85%

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KingStream

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Gandalf
Movie
2003
94%

Emile

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Emile
Movie
2003

Loose Ends

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2002

Poetry Extra

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2002

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

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Gandalf
Movie
2002

Little Dorrit

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2001

The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The RingStream

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Gandalf
Movie
2001
91%

David Copperfield

Actor
Creakle
Show
2000

Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man

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2000

X-MenStream

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Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto
Movie
2000
82%

Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man

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2000

Family GuyStream

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Dr. Cecil Pritchfield
Series
1999

The Daily Show With Jon StewartStream

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1999

Kickin' It: With Byron Allen

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1998

Gods and MonstersStream

Actor
James Whale
Movie
1998
96%

Apt Pupil

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Kurt Dussander
Movie
1998

Lily Savage's Blankety Blank

Contestant
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1997

The View

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Talk
1997

A Bit of Scarlet

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Movie
1997

Bent

Actor
Uncle Freddie
Movie
1997

Swept From the Sea

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Dr. James Kennedy
Movie
1997

Theater Talk

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1996

Rasputin

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Tsar Nicholas II
Movie
1996

Cold Comfort FarmStream

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Amos Starkadder
Movie
1995
83%

Jack & Sarah

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William
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1995

Restoration

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Will Gates
Movie
1995

Richard IIIStream

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Richard III
Movie
1995
96%

Richard IIIStream

Executive Producer
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1995
96%

Una Fría y Confortable Granja

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1995

The Shadow

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Dr. Reinhardt Lane
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1994

To Die For

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Quilt Documentary Narrator
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1994

Late Show With David Letterman

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1993

Last Action HeroStream

Actor
Death
Movie
1993
40%

And the Band Played OnStream

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Bill Kraus
Movie
1993
100%

The Ballad of Little Jo

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Percy Corcoran
Movie
1993

Six Degrees of SeparationStream

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Geoffrey
Movie
1993
88%

Charlie RoseStream

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Talk
1991

The SimpsonsStream

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Himself
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1989
85%

Scandal

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John Profumo
Movie
1989
88%

This Morning

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1988

Mission danger à Bucarest

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1988

Windmills of the Gods

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Chairman
Movie
1988

Zina

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Kronfeld
Movie
1985

Walter and June

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Walter
Movie
1983

The Keep

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Dr. Theodore Cuza
Movie
1983

The Scarlet Pimpernel

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Chauvelin
Movie
1982

Walter

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Walter
Movie
1982

Pimpinela Escarlata

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Movie
1982

Priest of Love

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D.H. Lawrence
Movie
1981

CBS News Sunday Morning

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News
1979

Macbeth

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1979

Macbeth

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Macbeth
Movie
1979

Saturday Night LiveStream

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1975

Great PerformancesStream

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Franchise
1972

Canada AM

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1972

Parkinson

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1971

Masterpiece

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Franchise
1971

Edward II

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King Edward
Movie
1970

The Promise

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Leonidik
Movie
1969

Alfred the Great

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Roger
Movie
1969

Thank You All Very Much

Actor
George Matthews
Movie
1969

The Dick Cavett ShowStream

Guest
Talk
1968

Today

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News
1952

News aboutIan McKellen