Ian McKellen Hospitalized After Fall from West End Stage, Expected to Make ‘Speedy and Full Recovery’

Update, June 18: A representative for Ian McKellen shared the following statement from the actor with IndieWire:

“I want to thank everyone for their kind messages and support. Since the accident, during a performance of Player Kings last night, my injuries have been diagnosed and treated by a series of experts, specialists and nurses working for the National Health Service. To them, of course, I am hugely indebted. They have assured me that my recovery will be complete and speedy and I am looking forward to returning to work.”

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June 17: Following an accident at the Noël Coward Theater in London, Sir Ian McKellen has been hospitalized. According to a report by the BBC, the 85-year old thespian — known for his roles as Gandalf in the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” film series and Magneto in the “X-Men” films, as well as his extensive theatrical experience — was performing as Falstaff in “Players King,” a production that combines Shakespeare’s “Henry IV – Part 1” and “Part 2,” when he lost his footing and fell from the front of the stage.

Though no official injuries have been reported, audience members told the BBC that the experience was “very shocking” and that following the fall and house lights being brought back up, McKellen was crying out for help.

“As far as I saw, he was conscious because he was asking for assistance,” said a theater-goer who was witness to the accident.

The production opened on the West End back in April for a 12-week run. The incident occurred during a fight scene between characters the Prince of Wales and Henry Percy. McKellen was circling the fight at the time when his foot went off the stage and he fell.

An official statement from the theater provided to IndieWire reads: “Thank you to our audience and the general public for their well wishes following Ian’s fall during this evening’s performance of ‘Player Kings.’ Following a scan, the brilliant NHS team have assured us that he will make a speedy and full recovery and Ian is in good spirits. The production has made the decision to cancel the performance on Tuesday 18 June so Ian can rest. Those affected will be contacted by their point of purchase as soon as possible tomorrow. Thank you to doctors Rachel and Lee who were on hand in the audience and to all the venue staff for their support.’”

McKellen is well-known in London and around the world for his mastering of the Bard, with performances as Iago, Coriolanus, Richard II, Richard III, King Lear and Macbeth. He was also recently in a filmed theatrical production of a modern retelling of “Hamlet,” in which he played the title role.

This is also not the first time McKellen has sustained injuries for his theatrical pursuits. In 2018, after injuring his leg while running to catch a train for his performance, McKellen was forced to cancel a performance of “King Lear” at London’s Duke of York Theatre. The actor made it up to the audience by replacing the performance with a Q&A in which he answered questions from the stage.

Along with his acting work, McKellan is known for his tireless activism, supporting multiple LGBTQIA+ organizations, bringing the art of performance to children’s hospitals, and raising money for suffering theaters. He has been nominated twice for an Academy Award, five times for a Primetime Emmy, and won 2 Screen Actors Guild awards, as well as a Tony for his role in the 1981 production of “Amadeus.”

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