Photo of Ian McKellen Ian McKellen

Born May 25, 1939, in Burnley, England, Ian McKellen moved with his family to the mining community of Wigan just before World War II. He developed a love for theatre at a young age, and while many of his early screen appearances were filmed versions of classics by William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens, McKellen eventually found his way into contemporary cinema.

With his turn as politician John Profumo in 1989's Scandal, McKellen began to gain global fame. Nine years later, his performance as gay director James Whale in Gods and Monsters earned McKellen his first Oscar nomination.

McKellen secured his iconic status among sci-fi and fantasy fans with his roles as Magneto in X-Men (2000) and as the wizard Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which brought another Oscar nod in 2002. On the small screen, McKellen has snagged five Emmy nominations, including one for the 2009 cable miniseries "The Prisoner."

Ian McKellen in Mr. Holmes

Mr. Holmes

2015 PG

Long retired to a country farmhouse, 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes tends his apiary and reflects on his remarkable career. But the legendary sleuth, whose mental powers are fading, remains haunted by the unsolved case that caused him to call it quits.

  • Ian McKellen in X-Men: Days of Future Past X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • Ian McKellen in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Ian McKellen in Stardust Stardust
  • Ian McKellen in The Dresser The Dresser
  • Ian McKellen in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • Ian McKellen in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Ian McKellen in X2: X-Men United X2: X-Men United
  • Ian McKellen in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • Ian McKellen in X-Men X-Men
  • Ian McKellen in Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
  • Ian McKellen in The Da Vinci Code The Da Vinci Code
  • Ian McKellen in X-Men 3: The Last Stand X-Men 3: The Last Stand
  • Ian McKellen in Charles Dickens: David Copperfield Charles Dickens: David Copperfield
  • Ian McKellen in LOTR: The Two Towers: Extended Ed. LOTR: The Two Towers: Extended Ed.
  • Ian McKellen in Saint of 9/11 Saint of 9/11
  • Ian McKellen in The Golden Compass The Golden Compass
  • Ian McKellen in Plenty Plenty
  • Ian McKellen in Flushed Away Flushed Away
  • Ian McKellen in Gods and Monsters Gods and Monsters
  • Ian McKellen in Six Degrees of Separation Six Degrees of Separation
  • Ian McKellen in LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring: Extended Ed. LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring: Extended Ed.
  • Ian McKellen in LOTR: Return of the King: Extended Ed. LOTR: Return of the King: Extended Ed.
  • Ian McKellen in Last Action Hero Last Action Hero
  • Ian McKellen in Cold Comfort Farm Cold Comfort Farm
  • Ian McKellen in Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man: IMAX Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man: IMAX
  • Ian McKellen in And the Band Played On And the Band Played On
  • Ian McKellen in Doogal Doogal
  • Ian McKellen in King Lear King Lear
  • Ian McKellen in Playing Shakespeare Playing Shakespeare
  • Ian McKellen in Armchair Thriller: Dying Day Armchair Thriller: Dying Day
  • Ian McKellen in The Scarlet Pimpernel The Scarlet Pimpernel
  • Ian McKellen in The Ballad of Little Jo The Ballad of Little Jo
  • Ian McKellen in I'll Do Anything I'll Do Anything
  • Ian McKellen in Eighteen Eighteen
  • Ian McKellen in Asylum Asylum
  • Ian McKellen in SNL: The Best of Jon Lovitz SNL: The Best of Jon Lovitz
  • Ian McKellen in Displaced Displaced
  • Ian McKellen in Edward II Edward II
  • Ian McKellen in Country Matters Country Matters
  • Ian McKellen in Macbeth Macbeth
  • Ian McKellen in Acting Shakespeare Acting Shakespeare
  • Ian McKellen in Loving Walter Loving Walter
  • Ian McKellen in The Shadow The Shadow
  • Ian McKellen in Ringers: Lord of the Fans Ringers: Lord of the Fans
  • Ian McKellen in Neverwas Neverwas
  • Ian McKellen in The Prisoner The Prisoner