One of most brilliant actors of all-time, Sir Ian McKellen, turns 75 years young today.
Like Dame Judi Dench, retirement is not in Ian McKellen’s vocabulary. At 75, with six Laurence Olivier Awards, a Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, two Academy Award nominations, four BAFTA nominations and five Emmy Award nominations in his rear view mirror, Sir Ian McKellen is having the time of his life.
With a career ranging from a 1959 performance in Shakespeare’s Henry IV opposite Derek Jacobi and Trevor Nunn to his 2014 reprisal of Magneto in X-Men: Days of Future Past, what lies in-between is almost too much for anyone to fathom. There are leading roles in a number of Shakespeare plays including MacBeth, Othello and King Lear, a guest appearance as himself on The Simpsons, film roles in Gods and Monsters, The Da Vinci Code, four X-Men features, three Lord of the Rings and three Hobbit movies where he has played Gandalf for coming up upon fifteen years. His most recent effort, currently in pre-production, has him cast as Sherlock Holmes – a retired Sherlock Holmes looking back on his life grappling with an unsolved case involving a beautiful woman in A Slight Trick of the Mind.
Amidst all of this, he found time to be part of the cast of Coronation Street, appear as #2 in the American re-make of The Prisoner and host Saturday Night Live. Almost lost in the sea of brilliant acting efforts is his first foray into situation comedy that premiered in the UK last year and finds it’s way to America beginning Sunday, June 29 on PBS. McKellen plays Freddie Thornhill, an over-the-hill actor whose career consisted mainly of bit parts, alongside Sir Derek Jacobi who plays Stuart Bixby, his partner for over 49 years in their Covent Garden flat. They both seem to be having the time of their lives with one series and a Christmas special of Vicious already in the books and a second series set to film in the not-too-distant future.
Warning: Language flags ahead.
The original title for Vicious was Vicious Old Queens. Rumor has it that, in true Sir Ian McKellen quick-witted fashion, he objected to the title stating that “I’m not old!. So, Happy Birthday, Sir Ian. Please don’t ever retire.