Thursday, January 13, 2011

Who is Ian McKellen?


Sir Ian Murray McKellen, CH, CBE (born 25 May 1939) is an English actor. He has received a Tony Award and two Academy Award nominations. His work has spanned genres from Shakespearean and modern theatre to popular fantasy and science fiction. He is known to many for roles such as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy and as Magneto in the X-Men films.In 1988, McKellen came out and announced he was gay. He became a founding member of Stonewall, one of the United Kingdom's most influential LGBT rights groups, of which he remains a prominent spokesman. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1979, and knighted in the 1991 New Year Honours for his outstanding work and contributions to theatre. In the 2008 New Year Honours he was made a Companion of Honour (CH) for services to drama and to equality. McKellen had taken film roles throughout his career — beginning in 1969 with his role of George Matthews in A Touch of Love, but it was not until the 1990s that he became more widely recognised in this medium, through several roles in blockbuster Hollywood movies. In 1993, McKellen had a supporting role as a South African tycoon in the critically acclaimed. Six Degrees of Separation, in which he starred with Stockard Channing, Donald Sutherland, and Will Smith. In the same year, he appeared in minor roles in the television miniseries Tales of the City (based on the novel by his friend Armistead Maupin) and the film Last Action Hero, in which he played Death. The same year, McKellen appeared in the TV movie And the Band Played On, about the discovery of the AIDS virus, for which McKellen won a CableACE Award for Supporting Actor in a Movie or Miniseries and was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie. In 1995, he played the title role in the critical hit Richard III, which transported the setting 400 years into the future in 1930s fascist England. McKellen co-produced and co-wrote the film, adapting the play for the screen based on a stage production of Shakespeare's play directed by Richard Eyre for the Royal National Theatre, in which McKellen had appeared. In McKellen's role as executive producer he returned his £50,000 fee in order to complete the filming of the final battle. In his review of the film, Hal Hinson of The Washington Post, called McKellen's performance a "lethally flamboyant incarnation" and said his "florid mastery ... dominates everything". His performance in the title role garnered best actor nominations for the BAFTA Award and Golden Globe, and won the European Film Award for Best Actor. His screenplay was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.His breakthrough role among mainstream American audiences came with the modestly acclaimed[26] Apt Pupil, based on a story by Stephen King. McKellen portrayed an old Nazi officer, living under a false name in the U.S., who was befriended by a curious teenager (Brad Renfro) who threatened to expose him unless he told his story in detail. His casting was based partly on his performance in Cold Comfort Farm, seen by Apt Pupil director Bryan Singer, despite the BBC's refusal to release it in cinemas.[24] He was subsequently nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the 1998 film Gods and Monsters, wherein he played James Whale, the director of Show Boat (1936) and Frankenstein. He reteamed with Bryan Singer to play the comic book character Magneto in X-Men and its sequels X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand. It was while filming X-Men that he was cast as the wizard Gandalf in Peter Jackson's three-film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings (consisting of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King). McKellen received honors from the Screen Actors Guild for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for his work in The Fellowship of the Ring and was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the same role. He also voiced Gandalf in the video game adaptions of the film trilogy as well as in The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age. On January 10, 2011 it was officially confirmed that Mckellen would reprise the role of Gandalf in the film adaptation of The Hobbit.

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