Ian McKellen is one of the most legendary actors in the entertainment world. With a career of over six decades, the actor is a familiar face to fans and a familiar force on the screen. From Richard III to Magneto to Gandalf, the British icon has a career that most actors can only dream about.
Ian McKellen took to Twitter to celebrate a very special day for both him and the entertainment world. Today marks the 61st anniversary of his choice to pursue acting as a career.
As McKellen explained, there was one review in particular that served as the final push he needed to ultimately pursue the world of acting.
Fans quickly filled the replies with kind words and the occasional jokes. “I hope it worked out for you!” wrote one user in jest. The rest responded with sweet remarks about how glad they were the actor chose to pursue his passion and how influential his past works, ranging from the fantastic X-Men to the animated comedy Flushed Away. With such a wide range of performances, it’s no surprise that the McKellen has fans from every generation.
Ian McKellen obviously made the right choice
The actor elaborated on the surprisingly important show on his website in 2009. The actor recounted how legendary theatre director John Barton shaped his future career while they prepared the play. “He insisted on punctuality at rehearsals and a total concentration during rehearsals. Unwittingly perhaps, he was preparing us for the professional theatre,” Ian McKellen wrote. “He encouraged me to discover a vocal range I’d not tried for before, mainly by mimicking him. …This I had to try for a score of times, until Barton was satisfied that my words set the scene and conjured up the Gloucestershire countryside.”
The production of Henry IV was put on The Marlowe Society, a theatre club at Cambridge University that was originally founded in 1907. The club stages shows of lesser-known plays featuring totally anonymous actors. However, many of the organization’s actors don’t remain unknown for long. The society’s alumni are exactly as impressive as one might expect. In addition to Ian McKellen, the organization’s ranks include 1917 director Sam Mendes, Tom Hiddleston, Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, and Rachel Weisz. McKellen even supported the society’s 2010 production of The Alchemist.