Ian McKellen(1939-), Actor
Sir Ian Murray McKellen
Sitter in 20 portraits
Widely regarded as one of the leading actors of his generation, McKellen has played numerous leads in classical and modern repertoire in theatres worldwide. Born in Burnley and educated at Cambridge University, he made his London debut in A Scent of Flowers (1964). His stage performances, particularly of Shakespeare, are legendary and include title roles in Much Ado About Nothing (1962), Henry V (1963), Richard II (1969) and Macbeth, in which he played opposite Judi Dench (1976-7). McKellen was nominated for Academy Awards for his performances in the films Gods and Monsters (1998) and Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03). In 1991 he was knighted for his services to performing arts. McKellen is a campaigner for LGBT+ rights and co-founder of Stonewall; the UK and Europe's largest LGBT+ rights organisation.
Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below
by Trevor Leighton
bromide print, 10 December 1988