Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen

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Sir Ian M. McKellen
Born 1930s.
Ancestors ancestors
[children unknown]
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Account confirmed 15 May 2017 | Ian's 0 contributions
Profile last modified | Created 11 Oct 2014
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Categories: Famous Actors of the 20th Century | Famous Actors of the 21st Century | Who Do You Think You Are (UK) | Notables.


Ian McKellen is Notable.

Sir Ian Murray McKellen was born in 1939 Burnley, England. He was born to Denis Murray (a civil engineer) and Margery Lois (nee Sutcliffe). He was their second child after his five-year-old sister Jean. The family moved to Wigan in south Lancashire, England. When McKellen was 12, the family moved to Bolton when his father was made Borough Engineer and Surveyor of Bolton.

His interest in theatre was encouraged by his family. His parents took him on a family outing to the Manchester Opera House when he was three to see Peter Pan. His sister, Jean, took him to see his first Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night, in Wigan as well as Macbeth and A Midsummer Night's Dream. His sister Jean acted, directed and produced amateur theatre as well.

"Each summer, Ian attended the school's camp to Stratford-upon-Avon: under canvas in Bell tents in a field upstream in Tiddington, half-an-hour to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre by punt. In the evening, he saw Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, Charles Laughton, Edith Evans, Peggy Ashcroft, John Gielgud, Paul Robeson in Shakespeare and, round the camp-stove, learnt to express why not all the productions were good."[1]

Ian studied at St. Catharine's College, Cambridge where he was involved in 21 undergraduate productions in which he acted in. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1961. At that point he had decided to be an actor stating, "I wasn't fit for anything else!" He started with a performance as Roper in A Man for All Seasons at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry. Within three years he was in London, continuing his acting career. He lived there with his lover, Brian Taylor (who was from Bolton and was a history school teacher). In 1972, their relationship changed and Ian moved into a house on his own where he lived alone for eight years. He was openly gay at home and at work, but had not been openly gay with his blood family or the media at that time. After that time, Ian used the money he had earned from a year on Broadway in Peter Shaffer's Amadeus to purchase his current residence. He lived with his lover Sean Mathias for eight years until 1988. They still work together including Waiting for Godot in 2009.

Named "Commander of the British Empire" (CBE) in 1979, then received his Knighthood of the British Empire (KBE) for services to the performing arts in the Queen's New Year Honours of 1990. In 2007, Queen Elizabeth named him to the Order of Companions of Honour (CH).

Since coming out publicly as a gay man during a BBC Radio 3 discussion, he has become an activist for gay rights, not only in the UK but worldwide.

Per his IMDB profile, he has 103 acting credits as of November 2014. He has been the face of Gandalf in the the Lord of the Rings series and Magneto in the X-Men films.


  1. http://www.mckellen.com/life/per.htm

"Sir Ian McKellen." Who Do You Think You Are. Series 13, Episode 6. BBC One. 25 Jan 2017.

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On 17 Feb 2018 at 17:28 GMT Keith McDonald wrote:


you can add

On 21 May 2017 at 23:21 GMT Russ Gunther KT wrote:

Hello Ian (or Notables team),

Would you kindly add Category: LGBT to your profile. Much appreciated!

On 11 Feb 2017 at 14:37 GMT DK Clews wrote:

And possibly this...? Category: Who Do You Think You Are (UK)

On 11 Feb 2017 at 14:36 GMT DK Clews wrote:

Can you add the following to sources? Thx.

"Sir Ian McKellen." Who Do You Think You Are. Series 13, Episode 6. BBC One. 25 Jan 2017.

On 5 Jul 2015 at 18:34 GMT Ron Norman BSN, RN wrote:

McKellen-43 and McKellen-1 appear to represent the same person because: I believe that these are duplicate profiles.

On 5 Jul 2015 at 18:32 GMT Ron Norman BSN, RN wrote:

I have added you to the Trusted list for Margery Sutcliffe's profile as well as all related profiles that I have the ability to do so. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.

Ron (Ronald.Norman.RN@gmail.com)

On 5 Jul 2015 at 17:11 GMT Marshall Satterwhite USN Ret. wrote:

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On 19 Nov 2014 at 14:43 GMT Ron Norman BSN, RN wrote:

Mother is Margery Lois Sutcliffe (b. appx 1905 d. 1951

Father is Denis Murray McKellan (d. 1963)

M  >  McKellen  >  Ian McKellen