Actor Ian McKellen, 85, is in ‘good spirits’ and expected to recover from fall off stage in London

McKellen was playing John Falstaff in ‘Player Kings,’ a production of Henry IV, parts one and two, adapted and directed by Robert Icke, at the Noel Coward Theatre

Published - June 18, 2024 11:54 am IST

Actor Sir Ian McKellen speaks during the press conference for the film “Mr. Holmes” at the 2015 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015.

Actor Sir Ian McKellen speaks during the press conference for the film “Mr. Holmes” at the 2015 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015. | Photo Credit: Michael Sohn

Actor Ian McKellen is expected to make a full recovery after he toppled off a London stage Monday during a fight scene and was hospitalized, a spokesperson said.

McKellen, 85, was in “good spirits” after doctors said a scan showed he was expected to fully recover from the fall, a spokesperson for the Noel Coward Theatre said.

The stage and screen veteran known for playing Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings films and many stage roles over a six-decade career cried out in pain after the fall, according to a BBC journalist at the theater.

McKellen was playing John Falstaff in “Player Kings,” a production of Henry IV, parts one and two, adapted and directed by Robert Icke, at the Noel Coward Theatre.

A sign for Player Kings at the Noel Coward Theatre in London, starring Sir Ian McKellen, who has been taken to hospital after he fell from the stage during a West End performance, Monday, June 17, 2024.

A sign for Player Kings at the Noel Coward Theatre in London, starring Sir Ian McKellen, who has been taken to hospital after he fell from the stage during a West End performance, Monday, June 17, 2024. | Photo Credit: Jacob Freedland

He lost his footing and fell off the stage in a scene with the Prince of Wales and Henry Percy. The tumble startled theatergoers.

“Sir Ian seemed to trip as he moved downstage to take a more active part in the scene,” audience member Paul Critchley told the PA news agency, saying it was a shock. “He picked up momentum as he moved downstage which resulted in him falling off the stage directly in front of the audience.”

Staff and two doctors in the audience helped the ailing actor, the spokesperson said.

The theatre was evacuated and the play was cancelled. The production for Tuesday was also cancelled to give McKellen time to rest.

McKellen’s career includes playing Magneto in the X-Men films and several Shakespearean characters including Richard II, Macbeth and King Lear.

He has won a Tony Award for “Amadeus,” several Laurence Olivier Awards and has been nominated for two Oscars and several BAFTA awards.

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