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McKellen considered knighthood snub

Published 23/05/2015

Sir Ian McKellen has admitted that he considered turning down his knighthood
Sir Ian McKellen has admitted that he considered turning down his knighthood

Sir Ian McKellen considered turning down his knighthood, thinking that the system was unfair, he has revealed.

The multi-award winning actor was given the honour in 1991 for services to the performing arts.

But speaking to the Daily Mail's Weekend magazine, the 75-year-old disclosed he had considered turning down the title.

He said: "Frankly, I don't think we should have titles, really.

"It's a very strange system isn't it? Actors are more likely to get them than fire chiefs or people who have spent their lives doing charity work, which is a bit unfair, isn't it?"

He continued: "I was in two minds about it, I liked being Mr McKellen. And if we all said no, it would stop."

When asked why he eventually agreed, the star - who played Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies - revealed that he had been involved with the gay-rights movement at the time and had sought the advice of three friends.

Sir Ian said that all three had encouraged him to go for it and conceded it was "alluring".

He was interviewed alongside Vicious co-star Sir Derek Jacobi, whom he confessed to fancying in university.

In the candid interview, Sir Derek described how he told his mother he was gay and asked her not to tell his father.

"She said 'all young men go through this phase, don't worry'," Sir Derek explained, adding that his parents were wonderful and not much was said.

"They kind of knew. They got it."

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