Internationally renowned actor, Sir Ian McKellen is a certified icon in more ways that one. Not only has he enjoyed an extensive career starring in Hollywood blockbusters like The Hobbit, but McKellen has also dedicated his platform to improving equality surround the LGBT+ community. As a pioneering leader against legalised homophobia in the UK, McKellen’s activism has been history-making and has paved the way for a more inclusive industry.
Best known for his work as an actor, McKellen has contributed to some of the biggest movies of the 21st century. From playing Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy to portraying Magento in the X-Men films McKellen has supported the success of global franchises. Equally prominent in classic roles, McKellen has performed in Shakespearian theatre throughout much of his 60-year career securing him an impressive seven Laurence Olivier Awards. He has also been recognised with a Tony, Golden Glove and BIF award.
A leader in the gay rights movement, McKellen came out as gay in 1988 live on BBC radio, driven to be proudly out by the Section 28 Act making it illegal to “promote” homosexuality. Over 30 years later, McKellen has remained a prominent figure in LGBT+ activism, becoming a founding member of Stonewall UK and regularly attending PRIDE events throughout the world. McKellen’s campaigning for the LGBT+ community has supported individuals battling with their sexuality and corporate clients in becoming more inclusive.
Currently, McKellen continues his defining acting career, combining his time as a speaker on LGBT+ rights and advocating against homophobia.