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McKellen, Sir Ian (b. 1939)  
 
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In 1994, he premiered his one-man show, A Knight Out, which incorporates his reminiscences as an actor and gay man with the words of various gay or bisexual authors. He has also appeared in a number of gay roles and gay-themed films and television productions, including Six Degrees of Separation (1993), And the Band Played On (1993), Bent (1997), and, most notably, Gods and Monsters (1998).

In Gods and Monsters, based on Christopher Bram's novel Father of Frankenstein, McKellen played James Whale, the British-born gay Hollywood director best known for such 1930s horror films as Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein. For his performance in this role, McKellen was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

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Among his other films are Richard III (1996), Apt Pupil (1998), and X-Men (2000).

As his acting career entered the twenty-first century, McKellen starred as the wizard Gandalf in an ambitious three-part film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkein's fantasy epic, The Lord of the Rings. His portrayal of the wizard in Fellowship of the Ring (2001) received accolades from critics and earned him the Screen Actors Guild award for Best Supporting Actor and an Academy Award nomination. He also appeared in Asylum (2004).

For the past decade, he has lived with his partner, actor Sean Mathias, who directed him in Martin Sherman's Bent (1990) and August Strindberg's Dance of Death (2001).

McKellen was Grand Master of the 2002 San Francisco Gay Pride Parade.

Patricia Juliana Smith

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arts >> Overview:  British Television

Until recently, British television embraced lesbians and gays as Them rather than Us, but a more diversified and nuanced approach to all kinds of sexuality is likely to be the case in the future.

arts >> Overview:  Film Actors: Gay Male

Although few gay actors have been permitted the luxury of openness, many of them have challenged and helped reconfigure notions of masculinity and, to a lesser extent, of homosexuality.

arts >> Overview:  Stage Actors and Actresses

Gay, lesbian, and bisexual actors and actresses are among the elite of contemporary theater, but only recently have many come out publicly.

social sciences >> Overview:  United Kingdom II: 1900 to the Present

Twentieth-century efforts to reform British law and public opinions about homosexuality met with mixed results, but at the beginning of the twenty-first century the United Kingdom has emerged as a leader in recognizing the rights of its glbtq citizens.

literature >> Bram, Christopher

Christopher Bram's novels address homosexual issues in a variety of periods and locales.

arts >> Callow, Simon

Versatile British actor Simon Callow has played a wide variety of roles on the stage, in films, and on television, but has remarked on his special affinity for gay roles.

arts >> Cashman, Michael

British politician Michael Cashman gained fame as an actor before becoming a Labour Party member of the European Parliament where he worked diligently on behalf of equal rights.

social sciences >> Clause (or Section) 28

In British law, Section 28 of the Local Government Act, enforced from 1988 until 2003, prohibited the promotion of homosexuality and teaching the acceptability of homosexuality as a "pretended family relationship".

arts >> Condon, William "Bill"

Having earned critical acclaim for his work on Gods and Monsters (1998), Chicago (2002), and Kinsey (2004), screenwriter and film director William "Bill" Condon has become a leading American filmmaker.

arts >> Fry, Stephen

British actor Stephen Fry, who scored a triumph as Oscar Wilde in the film Wilde, is also an accomplished comic, novelist, memoirist, and philanthropist.

literature >> Jarman, Derek

In both his films and his writings, Derek Jarman's explicit project was to celebrate gay sexuality and imagine a place for it in English culture.

social sciences >> Judge, Father Mychal

Father Mychal Judge, who died in the line of duty at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, devoted his life to the care and service of others, including those marginalized by society.

social sciences >> Mason, Angela

The former head of Britain's first gay rights lobbying organization, Angela Mason has worked toward achieving equality for women and glbtq individuals in the United Kingdom.

literature >> Orton, Joe

The gay British playwright Joe Orton, an important precursor of the queer literary movement, is perhaps the finest writer of farce in the twentieth century.

arts >> Ottman, John

In addition to scoring over thirty full-length motion pictures, American film composer, editor, and director John Ottman has also created musical compositions for numerous short films, television programs, and commercials.

arts >> Pet Shop Boys

The recordings of the British pop duo Pet Shop Boys may be seen as a reaction to events that stirred the British gay community in the last two decades of the twentieth century.

arts >> Schlesinger, John

British director John Schlesinger has been a significant force in introducing homosexual themes into mainstream British and American films.

arts >> Scissor Sisters

The American pop band Scissor Sisters was spawned in New York City's gay club scene; frequently addressing issues of transgressive sexuality, the band has cultivated a large glbtq fan base.

literature >> Shaffer, Sir Peter

British dramatist Peter Shaffer emerged in the 1960s in the paradoxical guise of the last great twentieth-century poet of the numinous who was also capable of writing commercially successful plays that could be turned into equally successful films.

literature >> Shakespeare, William

As one of the key figures that western civilization has used to define itself, William Shakespeare stands in a complicated, fiercely contested relationship to homosexuality.

arts >> Sherman, Martin

Best known for his groundbreaking play Bent, iconoclastic playwright and screenwriter Martin Sherman has created an impressive body of work.

arts >> Singer, Bryan

Film director and producer Bryan Singer overturns standard narrative formulae and develops complex characters; he consistently emphasizes the fluidity and ambiguity of identity categories, including those pertaining to gender and sexuality.

arts >> Whale, James

Director James Whale is best remembered for his stylish horror films and for being one of the few openly gay Hollywood figures of the 1930s.

arts >> Wong, B. D.

Asian-American actor B. D. Wong came to prominence with his extraordinary performance in M. Butterfly and has since established himself as a talented character actor in film and television and as a champion of glbtq causes.

arts >> Zeffirelli, Franco

Controversial Italian director Franco Zeffirelli has won both acclaim and derision for his visually extravagant opera, stage, and film productions, while also provoking the ire of many gay men and lesbians for his anti-gay religious positions.


    Bibliography
   

Bronski, Michael, Christa Brelin, and Michael J. Tyrkus, eds. Outstanding Lives: Profiles of Lesbians and Gay Men. Detroit: Visible Ink, 1997.

Gibson, Joy Leslie. Ian McKellen. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1986.

Russell, Paul Elliott. The Gay 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Gay Men and Lesbians, Past and Present. New York: Birch Lane Press, 1994.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Smith, Patricia Juliana  
    Entry Title: McKellen, Sir Ian  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated September 27, 2006  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/mckellen_i.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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