Born: 25 May 1939
Birthplace: Burnley, England
Best known as: Gandalf in the film Lord of the Rings
Ian McKellen won acclaim as a member of Laurence Olivier's National Theater Company in the 1960s and later as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company. On film his best-known appearances have included the title role in Richard III (1995, with Annette Bening) and as Magneto in X-Men (2000, with Hugh Jackman). He won a 1981 Tony Award as Salieri in the Broadway production of Amadeus. He played Gandalf the wizard in director Peter Jackson's 2001-03 feature film trilogy of J.R.R. Tolkien's book The Lord of the Rings. He landed another high-profile role in 2006, as the Holy Grail-obsessed historian Sir Leigh Teabing in the movie version of Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code.
Extra credit: He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1991 for his services to the arts... In 1988 McKellen announced publicly that he was gay, and he has since been an outspoken advocate for gay rights.
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