Sir Ian Murray McKellen is an English actor. He was born at 8:30 PM Greenwhich Mean Time on the 25th of May in 1939, at the general hospital of Burnley (a market town in Lancashire in England). In the US, he is best known for starring in 2 big movie franchises -- as Magneto in X-Men movies and as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. He has received 6 Laurence Olivier Awards, 4 Drama Desk Awards, 2 Saturn Awards, and 2 Critics' Choice Awards, and one each from British Independent Film Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, The Golden Globes, and Tony Awards. He has also been nominated for 5 Emmy Awards, 4 BAFTA Awards, and 2 Academy Awards.
His work covers genres ranging from science fiction and fantasy adventure films to modern and Shakespearean theater. In 1979, he was appointed as commander of the Order of the British Empire; in 1990, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his efforts in the performing arts; in the 2008 New Year Honors, he was made a Companion of Honor for all he has done for drama and equality; and in 2014, he was given an honorary Doctorate of Letters award by Cambridge University.
While Mckellen didn't hide his sexual preference from his fellow stage actors early on in his career, it wasn't until 1988 that he decided to come out to the public and media. He made his announcement in a program on BBC Radio 3. His reason for doing so: Section 28 of the Local Government bill was under consideration by the British Parliament. It proposed to forbid local authorities from promoting homosexuality as some kind of pretended family relationship. Section 28 was vague and the amendment's impact was uncertain.
Sir Ian McKellen was active in fighting Section 28, and by exposing that he was gay, he was hoping that if people saw he was supporting the campaign against it, others would be on board too, whether gay or straight. The controversial local government bill, however, was made into law and stayed on the statute books until 2003.