(Magneto) reprises his role as the strongest and most powerful mutant. X2
reunites McKellen and director Bryan Singer, with whom he previously
collaborated on the 1998 film "Apt Pupil," as well as on
Last year, McKellen was nominated for an Academy
Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Gandalf the Grey in Peter
Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring." In
September of 2001 he celebrated his fortieth anniversary as an actor with a
return to Broadway, starring opposite Helen Mirren in Richard
Greenburg's new adaptation of Strindberg's
"Dance of Death," directed by Sean Mathias. Recently, he was a guest
"voice" on "The Simpsons."
McKellen, who was knighted in 1991 for his
services to the performing arts, has been honored with more than thirty
international awards for his performances on stage and latterly on screen. He
won the Tony Award as Salieri in Peter Shaffer's "Amadeus" (1981); and
an Emmy Award as Best Supporting Actor in HBO's "Rasputin" (1996).
He was European Actor of the Year for his screen
version of "Richard III" (1996); and received Academy Award, Golden
Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award and Golden Satellite nominations for Best Actor
for his portrayal of Hollywood director James Whale in Bill Condon's
"Gods and Monsters" (1999).
McKellen's numerous motion picture credits
also include "Swept From the Sea," "Bent," "Thin
Ice," "Restoration," "Jack and Sarah," "The
Shadow," "Cold Comfort Farm," "And the Band Played On"
(for which he won a CableACE Award and received an Emmy Award nomination for
Best Supporting Actor), "Six Degrees of Separation," "Last Action
Hero," "I'll Do Anything," "The Ballad of Little Jo,"
"Scandal," "Plenty," "Zina," "The Keep,"
"Walter," "Priest of Love," "The Promise,"
"Alfred the Great," "A Touch of Love/Thank You All Very
Much" and "The Bells of Hell Go Ting-A-Ling-A-Ling."
McKellen was born in the industrial north of
England on May 25, 1939, the son of a civil engineer. He first acted at school
and at Cambridge University, where he studied English Literature and appeared in
twenty-one undergraduate productions. Without any formal dramatic training, he
made his professional debut in 1961 at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. Then,
for three seasons, he worked his apprenticeship with other regional companies,
culminating with the opening of the Nottingham Playhouse, where he was directed
by his childhood hero, Tyrone Guthrie.
His first London appearance in "A Scent of
Flowers" (1964) won him the Clarence Derwent Award and an invitation from
Laurence Olivier to join his new National Theatre Company at the Old Vic
Theatre. This was followed by two seasons with the touring Prospect Theatre,
storming the 1969 Edinburgh Festival as Shakespeare's Richard II and Marlowe's
Edward II. These played for two sell-out seasons in London and were televised,
as well. His "Hamlet" followed, and established McKellen as one of the
leading classical actors of his generation. In 1972, he co-founded the
democratically run Actors' Company, which visited the Brooklyn Academy of
Music in 1974.
His work with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)
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