“A wizard is never late. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.” This iconic line from the movie adaptation of Fellowship of the Ring seems a fitting one to use to celebrate the birth of the great Ian Mckellen.
He was born in Burnley, England, on this day in 1939. He was interested in theatre and acting from a young age. His first dramatic role was portraying Malvolio in a school production of Twelfth Night.
Ian’s love of Shakespeare is evident in his work across stage and screen. He played the titular role in the fantastic Richard III (1995), and has acted in almost all of the bard’s other famous works, from Hamlet to more professional productions of Twelfth Night.
McKellen is most known for his portrayals of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003) and Magneto in the first X-Men trilogy (2000-2006). He is iconic as the grey and white cloaked wizard who plays a major part in saving Middle Earth.
While he has won more than 60 major awards for acting on stage and on screen, Gandalf has definitely kept him in the hearts of a younger audience. He steals the first movie in every scene he is in as the quietly powerful yet oddly awkward old wizard. He comes back in the second and third films as the mighty Gandalf the White, slayer of Balrogs and saviour of Man.
His friendship with Patrick Stewart is a source of happiness and comedy for all who witness it, especially when they appear on Graham Norton!
So Happy Birthay Sir McKellen! Thank you for the happiness you bring us fans and for all of your wonderful performances!