Sir Ian Murray McKellen CBE (born May 25, 1939) is a Shakespearean actor, widely known for his roles as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, and Magneto in the X-Men Film Series (get over it◊), as well as the title character in his 1995 Setting Update adaptation of Shakespeare's Richard III. He also lent his voice to a certain polar bear, and the Great Intelligence in the 2012 Doctor Who Christmas Special. He starred with Derek Jacobi in a series called Vicious, a gay Dom Com about a long-partnered male couple.
He's also openly gay and an ardent supporter of gay rights, averting Nobody Over 50 Is Gay. He came out to the public in a BBC radio interview when the British government tried to push through Section 28, a law that would have prohibited schools from even mentioning homosexuality in any sort of context to students. He notes that, although he'd been out to family, friends, and coworkers, coming out to the general public made him realize that he could suddenly access a new depth of emotion in his acting.
He's also authorized to perform marriages, as he officiated the September 2013 wedding of his friend Patrick Stewart to Sunny Ozell.
- 1983 The Keep as Dr. Theodore Cuza
- 1993 Last Action Hero as Death
- 1993 Six Degrees of Separation as Geoffrey
- 1994 The Shadow as Dr. Reinhardt Lane
- 1995 Richard III as Richard III
- 1996 Rasputin as Czar Nicholas II
- 1998 Gods and Monsters as James Whale
- 1998 Apt Pupil as Kurt Dussander
- 2000 – 2006; 2013 – 2014 X-Men Film Series as Magneto
- 2001 – 2003 The Lord of the Rings as Gandalf
- 2001 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
- 2002 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
- 2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
- 2005 Neverwas as Gabriel Finch
- 2006 The Da Vinci Code as Sir Leigh Teabing
- 2007 The Golden Compass as Iorek Byrnison (voice)
- 2012 – 2014 The Hobbit as Gandalf
- 2015 Mr. Holmes as Sherlock Holmes
- 2017 Beauty and the Beast as Cogsworth
Tropes associated with his work:
- Actor Allusion: His appearance on Have I Got News for You had constant references to his role in The Lord of the Rings.
- Cool Old Guy: Only someone as cool as Ian McKellen could pull off roles like Gandalf and Magneto. Also, the man himself is One of Us and by his own admission, just loves and can't stop singing George Ezra!
- Deadpan Snarker: In the classic British fashion, his characters tend to be given the wittiests lines. His friends and coworkers all attest that McKellen himself has an extremely dry sense of humor.
- Enforced Method Acting: He hosted Saturday Night Live, and in one sketch played Dame Maggie Smith, being interviewed on Weekend Update. At one point he asked Jimmy Fallon, "Kiss for luck?" Fallon leaned over, clearly expecting a peck on the cheek. Ian grabbed him and gave him an open-mouthed smooch right on the lips, leaving Fallon visibly stunned. It was hilarious.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Sir Patrick Stewart. Seriously, they're adorable together.
- Large Ham: Just check him giving instructions on changing a flat tire.
- Meta Casting: In Gods and Monsters, he played James Whale, the director of Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, who was homosexual like McKellen.
- Those Two Guys: With Sylvester McCoy. They first worked togethered in King Lear and then in The Hobbit.