Detail: Harvey Milk by Efren Convento Ramirez, 1978
© Efren Ramirez, 1978/2009

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Sir Ian McKellen has acted in classical and modern theatre since his schooldays. His stage roles have been many and varied - most recently as King Lear for the Royal Shakespeare Company and as Gogo in Waiting for Godot. He has also appeared in many films including Gods and Monsters (1998), for which he received an Academy Award nomination as Best Actor. In 1989 he was a co-founder of Stonewall UK, the lesbian, gay and bisexual rights lobby group. In 2008 he was appointed a Companion of Honour for services to drama and to equality.

McKellen's selection includes:


'... the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in 1977 ... Despite his popularity with his constituents and his national profile, he was assassinated in 1978, as a martyr to his beliefs.'

Ian McKellen