Sir Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con. Photo by Gage Skidmore

Sir Ian McKellen – Life & Work

Sir Ian McKellen, actor and activist, was born 25 May 1939, in Lancashire, England. A classically-trained Shakespearian actor, Ian McKellen’s career has seen him on stage as Hamlet, on camera as the wizard Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings movies, and as the supervillain Magneto in the X-Men movies.

His work has earned him countless nominations and awards. He won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).

Sir Ian McKellen – Activism & Charity

Since coming out in 1988, Sir Ian Mckellen has advocated for equality and justice for the gay and queer communities. The same year, he helped establish Stonewall UK, an organization for the advancement of gay rights in the United Kingdom and around the globe.

Sir Ian McKellen has generously donated his time and money to charities, supporting the arts, and aiding the victims of natural disasters.

Sir Ian McKellen at Cambridge

Sir Ian McKellen was a member of the Marlowe Society during his time at St. Catharine’s College, University of Cambridge. With the Marlowe Society he appeared in many plays, honing his acting talent and garnering recognition from his peers.

He had won a scholarship to the college when he was eighteen to read English literature. Sir Ian McKellen’s time in student theatre would lead him on to perform with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and eventually launch his star-studded career. is not affiliated with University of Cambridge.