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Ian McKellen

The Biography

Garry O'Connor



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Little Brown
10 November 2020
Few actors achieve in their lifetime what Sir Ian McKellen has. A repertoire of vast commercial success coupled with critically acclaimed and authoritative Shakespearian roles. A man whose achievements inspire both admiration and affection. McKellen has been feted and admired in every country across the globe, and has been knighted by, and received the Companionship of Honour from Queen Elizabeth II. He is an icon of, and ardent campaigner in the cause for LGBT rights.

Many of us know of McKellen through his depiction of Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. Garry O'Connor's definitive biography reveals the man behind McKellen the actor. The inside story of the person himself: a constantly developing drama and a work in progress. Yet O'Connor pulls no punches: some of his revelations may be controversial to his fans, even explosive, given McKellen's constant ability to shock and surprise. The author directed McKellen in some of his very first roles. This is an unflinching yet deeply intimate and affectionate biography that, like McKellen himself, will stand the test of time as a rounded and complete portrait of one of the most unusual geniuses of our times.
By:   Garry O'Connor
Imprint:   Little Brown
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 196mm,  Width: 128mm,  Spine: 28mm
Weight:   300g
ISBN:   9781474608534
ISBN 10:   1474608531
Pages:   368
Publication Date:   10 November 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Garry O'Connor is a biographer and novelist, noted for his publications on theatrical and literary figures. He has written acclaimed biographies of Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, Paul Scofield, Peggy Ashcroft and Alec Guinness. O'Connor has written and presented programmes for radio, including Campion's Ghost for Radio 4, adapted from his novel about John Donne.

Reviews for Ian McKellen: The Biography

[An] extensive new biography written by Garry O'Connor, whom [McKellen] met 60 years ago when they were students at Cambridge. The book deals with all areas of McKellen's eventful life, professional, personal and political: from his energetic campaigning for gay rights to the time he kissed Tony Blair; his acclaimed Shakespeare roles and his much-loved Gandalf in Lord of the Rings and Widow Twankey in panto; and his close friendships with Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi and Patrick Stewart * RADIO TIMES * A revealing and in-depth look at [McKellen's] wide-ranging career and personal relationships * CHOICE magazine * Sir Ian McKellen got cold feet about writing his memoirs, in the end returning a substantial advance to his publisher. In its stead his old friend Garry O'Connor has produced a fascinating account of the actor's life and career - his passions, his craft, his gay rights activism, not to mention his generosity ( Gandalf pays ' is his habitual cry at the end of a meal) ... This is surely the de?nitive McKellen biography. -- Alexander Larman * THE OBSERVER * There is serious analysis of McKellen's greatest performances - Iago, Richard III, Gandalf - and some of his less successful ones ... Yet O'Connor also has time for theatre lore and gossip ... It is as much a voyage of discovery around British theatre as it is around its subject's psyche, but unless McKellen rethinks his decision and writes his memoirs, this sprawling portrait might be as close as anyone gets. -- Victoria Segal * THE SUNDAY TIMES * A well-researched, eminently readable book -- Benedict Nightingale * THE TIMES * With his varied career and position as LGBT campaigner, icon Sir Ian McKellen's story is one that delights and inspires * WOMAN & HOME *

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