But what else do we know about the man who brought Gandalf the Grey to life in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings? Here's his story…
Who is Sir Ian McKellan? How old is he?
Do you really need to ask?
OK, for those not in the know, Sir Ian McKellen is a veteran icon of screen and stage and perhaps best known to modern audiences for his role as white-haired Wizard Gandalf in Lord of the Rings.
He was born in Burnley, Lancashire, on May 25 1939, which makes him 78.
Sir Ian has an estimated worth of £39 million.
Where is Sir Ian from?
His family were from the Lancashire town yet he has since moved to London.
He was brought up by mum Margery and civil engineer dad Denis, along with elder sister Jean.
Sir Ian previously opened up on his experiences of growing up in the midst of the Second World War and said: "I slept under a steel plate until I was four years old."
Is Sir Ian married?
He has been openly gay since 1988.
He is co-founder of Stonewall, an LGBT lobby rights group, and has had two high-profile relationships with Brian Taylor and Sean Matthias.
The latter lasted 10 years yet their conflicting careers – with Sean working as a film director – were said to have played a part in their split.
When did Sir Ian catch the acting bug?
He studied English Literature at Cambridge University and let his theatrical juices flow as part of the Marlowe Society.
Sir Ian trod the boards in productions of Henry IV, Cymbeline and Doctor Faustus.
He got his first break in the West End in A Scent of Flowers.
What about starring on the silver screen?
Although the northern actor started his film career in 1969, in A Touch of Love, it wasn't until the Nineties he became recognised for his work on-camera.
In that decade he starred alongside Will Smith in Six Degrees of Separation as well as the title role in Richard III.
After stints in X-Men and the action film's sequels – where he starred alongside long-time friend and fellow Knight of the Realm Sir Patrick Stewart – he was cast as Gandalf in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, where he was flagged up for a host of accolades.
To great acclaim, he voiced Cogsworth, the Beast's loyal butler, in Disney's live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.
How many awards has he clocked up?
Deep breath – here goes.
Sir Ian proudly displays on his mantelpiece six Laurence Olivier Awards, a Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BIF Award, two Saturn Awards, four Drama Desk Awards and two Critics' Choice Awards.
He has also received two Oscar nominations, four BAFTA nominations and five Emmy Award nominations.
What are his other hobbies away from the camera?
Sir Ian owns East End pub The Grapes, in Limehouse.
He purchased the boozer in a business agreement with Evgeny Lebedev and his ex Sean back in 2009.
He is also an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church – which meant he could preside over the marriage ceremony of fellow actor Patrick Stewart in 2013.
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