sir-ian-mckellen-to-play-a-retired-sherlock-holmes-headerby Alicia Glass, contributing writer

Hooray for Gandalf! And Magneto is always awesome. He’s been knighted and medaled, twice even. He can boast Laurence Oliver awards, two Saturn awards, four Drama Desk awards, a Tony, a Golden Globe, a SAG award, and countless nominations. On the live stage, he’s been Coriolanus, Edward II, Hamlet, Richard III, Iago and countless others, mostly buoyed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, of which he is a Patron. He is also a Patron of the English Touring Theatre and the Little Theatre Guild of Great Britain. McKellen took part in the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Paralympics, and the out-of-the-closet actor is a staunch supporter of LGBT Rights.

We know most of that, because let’s face it – Sir Ian McKellen is just amazing. So how about some trivia? McKellen sports a tattoo from his time filming the Lord of the Rings movies, the Elvish number nine in Tengwar, to commemorate his experiences with fellow Ring-Fellowship actors. He actively supports Age UK, a merging of Age Concern and Help the Aged, who specialize in bringing comfort and active life back to the elderly of the United Kingdom. McKellen is an honorary Board member of the Only Make Believe organization, a non-profit that brings the magic of the live interactive stage shows to children’s hospitals and care facilities. McKellen brought the house (or his pants) down when he stripped to his Lord of the Rings underwear on stage, while hosting the 2013 Only Make Believe on Broadway Gala.

Did you know he was considered for the role of Dumbledore, after Richard Harris passed on? McKellen refused, citing he was already having enough difficulties living up to other legends. He is now, aside from the occasional fish, a vegetarian. He appeared as a vampire in the Pet Shop Boys music video “Heart”. And of course much is made about the legendary bromance (just the best of friends, they are) between Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, who knew each other from their early acting days and work together in the X-Men movies, McKellen even officiated Stewart’s wedding! Rumor has it that in his more private circle of friends he is occasionally known by the nickname “Serena,” too. And next year in 2015, he is set to star as an older Sherlock Holmes, in A Slight Trick of the Mind.

So what does Sir Ian McKellen want for his birthday? The man seems to have glorious bits of everything an entertainer could want. He regularly gives to charitable groups all across the UK and elsewhere, promoting LGBT rights and safe sex practices, literacy for all, and even help for disabled and disadvantaged children. He is a founding member of Stonewall, the equal rights for lesbian, gays and bisexuals charity, so how about donating to that! Equality for all, wisdom from the mouth of he who played Gandalf!

Happy 75th Birthday to Sir Ian McKellen from all of us here at Krypton Radio!