Sir Ian Murray McKellen, CH, CBE (born 25 May 1939) is an English actor. He has received a Tony Award and two Academy Award nominations. His work has spanned genres from Shakespearean and modern theatre to popular fantasy and science fiction. He is known to many for roles such as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy and as Magneto in the X-Men films.
In 1988, McKellen came out and announced he was gay. He became a founding member of Stonewall, one of the United Kingdom’s most influential LGBT rights groups, of which he remains a prominent spokesman.
He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1979, and knighted in the 1991 New Year Honours for his outstanding work and contributions to theatre. In the 2008 New Year Honours he was made a Companion of Honour (CH) for services to drama and to equality.
It was while filming X-Men that he was cast as the wizard Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s three-film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings (consisting of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King). McKellen received honors from the Screen Actors Guild for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for his work in The Fellowship of the Ring and was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the same role. He also voiced Gandalf in the video game adaptions of the film trilogy as well as in The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age. On January 10, 2011 it was officially confirmed that Mckellen would reprise the role of Gandalf in the film adaptation of The Hobbit.