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Sir Ian McKellen

Actor & Activist

Actor & Activist

Travels From Travels From:
London, UK
Speaking Fee Speaking Fee:

Sir Ian McKellen Biography

An actor and campaigner, Ian McKellen has had an exceptional career on stage and screen. His performances for the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company are legendary. In the cinema he has been Shakespeare’s Richard III, the mutant Magneto in 'X-Men' and the wizard Gandalf in the 'Middle Earth' movies. On television, of late, he has starred as The Dresser and in the popular British sitcom ‘Vicious’. His next project is his second King Lear for the 2017 Chichester Festival. He was a founder-member of Stonewall UK and is a vocal activist for LGBT rights worldwide. He was knighted in 1989 and his latest accolade Companion of Honour is for his services to drama and equality.

Ian McKellen is a revered, award-winning British actor of stage and screen known for many roles, including The Lord of the Rings and X-Men series.

Ian McKellen was born on May 25, 1939, in Burnley, England, and has become an acclaimed thespian of the British stage, including his work Edward II, and a respected actor in film, which he began into in the late ‘60s. He earned an Oscar nomination for his role in 1998’s Gods and Monsters and has further cemented his iconic status with roles as Magneto in the X-Men films and Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings franchise.

Ian Murray McKellen was born in Burnley, Lancashire, England, on May 25, 1939. His father, Denis Murray McKellen, was a lay preacher and a civil engineer, and his mother, Margery Lois Sutcliffe, was a homemaker. Their household, which also included McKellen's sister, Jean, was religious but relatively tolerant. Tragedy struck in 1951, when McKellen's mother died from breast cancer; the future actor was just 12 years old at the time. Grief hit the family again 12 years later, in 1963, when Denis McKellen was killed in an automobile accident.

McKellen attended the Bolton School -- of which he remains a supporter -- and his acting career began at Bolton Little Theatre. His parents and sister encouraged his early interest in acting, taking him to many theatrical productions, including Shakespearean plays.

In addition to his interest in acting, McKellen was a strong student. At the age of 18, he won a scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge's St. Catharine's College, where he befriended actor Derek Jacobi.

While studying at Cambridge, McKellen joined the Marlowe Society, appearing in productions including Henry IV and Doctor Faustus. In 1961, he appeared in his first professional production, A Man for All Seasons. McKellen moved from regional repertory theaters to the West End, becoming a well-known and respected actor known for his performance range. He was knighted in 1991 for his achievements on the stage.

McKellen has appeared in films throughout most of his career, and became widely recognized for his work on the silver screen in the 1990s, following several roles in Hollywood and television films. In 1993, McKellen played a supporting role as a South African tycoon in Six Degrees of Separation. The same year, he appeared in the television movie And the Band Played On, about the AIDS epidemic, for which he garnered an Emmy Award nomination. He also starred in the major studio film Apt Pupil, based on a Stephen King novel.

McKellen's later films reached an even broader audience. In 2000, he starred in the first of several X-Men movies as the villain Magneto. In 2006, he appeared in the film adaptation of the best-selling book The Da Vinci Code. While filming X-Men, McKellen was cast as the wizard Gandalf in Peter Jackson's trilogy The Lord of the Rings. For his work in the film series, he received the Screen Actors Guild Award for best supporting actor, as well as an Academy Award nomination. McKellen agreed to reprise the role in Jackson's follow-up trilogy, The Hobbit, the first installment of which was released in December 2012.

McKellen is a prominent gay rights activist. He announced that he was a gay man for the first time on BBC Radio in 1988, although he had come out in his personal and professional lives decades earlier. McKellen co-founded Stonewall, a LGBT rights lobbying group in the United Kingdom named after the 1969 Stonewall riots. He has stated that some of his friends refer to him by the nickname "Serena."

Sir Ian McKellen Videos

  • Sir Ian McKellen and Stephen Merchant are friendship goals @The ...
    Subscribe and to the BBC the BBC first on iPlayer Ian McKellen tells ...
  • Ian McKellen - Full Address
  • Sir Ian McKellen Gay Pride Speech 2014

Sir Ian McKellen Books

  • Ian McKellen on Macbeth (Shakespeare on Stage)
    Ian McKellen on Macbeth (Shakespeare on Stage)

FAQs on booking Sir Ian McKellen

  • How do I book Sir Ian McKellen to speak at my event?

    Our experienced booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure speakers like Sir Ian McKellen for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment since 2002. Click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page to check availability for Sir Ian McKellen, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get speaking fee information and check availability for Sir Ian McKellen or any other speaker of your choice.
  • What are the speaker fees for Sir Ian McKellen

    Speaking fees for Sir Ian McKellen, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. The estimated fees to book Sir Ian McKellen are for live events and for virtual events. For the most current speaking fee to hire Sir Ian McKellen, click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak directly with an experienced booking agent.
  • What topics does Sir Ian McKellen speak about?

    Sir Ian McKellen is a keynote speaker and industry expert whose speaking topics include Activism, Actors, Diversity, Entertainers, Entertainment, Faith & Religion, LGBTQ.
  • Where does Sir Ian McKellen travel from?

    Sir Ian McKellen generally travels from London, UK, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. For more details, please contact an AAE Booking agent.
  • Who is Sir Ian McKellen’s agent?

    AAE Speakers Bureau has successfully booked keynote speakers like Sir Ian McKellen for clients worldwide since 2002. As a full-service speaker booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Please click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page including the details of your event, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Sir Ian McKellen for your next private or corporate function.
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    AAE Speakers Bureau is a full-service speaker booking agency, meaning we can completely manage the speaker’s or celebrity’s engagement with your organization from the time of booking your speaker through the event’s completion. We provide all of the services you need to host Sir Ian McKellen or any other speaker of your choice, including offer negotiation, contractual assistance, accounting and billing, and event speaker travel and logistics services. When you book a speaker with us, we manage the process of hosting a speaker for you as an extension of your team. Our goal is to give our clients peace of mind and a best-in-class service experience when booking a speaker with us.
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    If you’re looking for the best, unbiased speaker recommendations, paired with a top-notch customer service experience, you’re in the right place. At AAE Speakers Bureau, we exclusively represent the interests of our clients - professional organizations, companies, universities, and associations. We intentionally do not represent the speakers we feature or book. That is so we can present our clients with the broadest and best performing set of speaker options in the market today, and we can make these recommendations without any obligation to promote a specific speaker over another. This is why when our agents suggest a speaker for your event, you can be assured that they are of the highest quality with a history of proven success with our other clients.

Sir Ian McKellen is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Sir Ian McKellen for your event is available upon request. Sir Ian McKellen generally travels from LondonUK and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Michael Fassbender, Luke Evans, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis and Orlando Bloom. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Sir Ian McKellen for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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