When William Shakespeare died in 1616, he had just turned 53 years old. Ian McKellen has been performing Shakespeare on stage for longer than that. Since 1952, when 12-year-old McKellen played Malvolio in a scene from Twelfth Night with other Bolton School boys, he has appeared in over 20 major productions of the Bard's work. McKellen has brought Shakespeare to stages in Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia. Passages from Shakespeare have featured prominently in McKellen's one-man shows including Words, Words, Words, A Knight Out and, of course, Acting Shakespeare.
At least six of those stage productions were taped for television and eventual home video. In 1995 McKellen produced, adapted and starred in the acclaimed feature film Richard III. McKellen has recorded more than a dozen of Shakespeare's plays for radio and audio books.
McKellen has also participated in books and television shows about Shakespeare, such as The Shakespeare Show🔗 and John Barton's Playing Shakespeare🔗.
Since 2007, McKellen has played King Lear over 300 times, and he will add another 100 performances later in 2018 at The Duke of York's Theatre in London's West End.