Author: Suren Prasad
Ian McKellen is estimated to be worth £38 million.
Born on May 25, 1939 in Burnley, Ian McKellen’s interest in acting was fuelled by visits to the Opera House and the many Shakespearean plays in which his sister Jean took part.
His film career began with A Touch of Love (1969) and his first lead came in the similarly titled Priest of Love (1980).
McKellen went on to become a noted Shakespearean actor in British theatre in the 1970s and 1980s playing iconic roles such as Macbeth and Iago in Othello. He has won six Laurence Olivier Awards, a Tony, Golden Globe, a SAG Award, a BIF Award, two Saturn Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, two Critics’ Choice Awards and two London Evening Standard Theatre Awards among others.
In 1993, McKellen acted in the critically acclaimed Six Degrees of Separation, Last Action Hero and the TV film And the Band Played On, for which he was nominated for an Emmy. In 1995, he co-wrote and played Richard III in the critically acclaimed film of the same name. McKellen’s was nominated for a Best Actor BAFTA and a Golden Globe, and won the European Film Award for his title role in the film.
Later he was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for Gods and Monsters (1998) for his role as troubled film director James Whale.
McKellen played the super villain Magneto in X-Men (2000), X2: X-Men United (2003) and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006).
He was also cast as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He earned the SAG’s Best Supporting Actor nod for The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He later successfully reprised his role of Gandalf in The Hobbit trilogy.
McKellen starred in 2006’s The Da Vinci Code, returning to the stage in 2007 to play King Lear in a touring production taking in New York, Stratford-upon-Avon and London. That same year, he appeared in Chekhov’s The Seagull and later earned plaudits in a revival of Waiting for Godot in London and beyond (2009/2010).
The venerable actor also appeared in the one-off Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot (2013). In 2014, he reprised his role as Magneto in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
McKellan lived in a five-storey Victorian conversion in Narrow Street, Limehouse, for over ten years. A vocal gay rights campaigner, he sports an Elvish tattoo on his shoulder, number nine in the Tengwar script.
He was awarded the CBE (1979), the KBE (1990), honoured with Companion of Honour (2008) and made a Freeman of the City of London in 2014.