Actor Ian McKellen sent to the hospital after stage fall

 June 19, 2024

Actor Ian McKellen gave theatergoers a frightful scene Monday when he fell off stage. 

The 85-year-old Lord of The Rings actor cried out for help as he lost his balance during a performance of Player Kings, an adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry IV Parts One and Two. 

He was hospitalized and is said to be recovering quickly.

McKellen plays Sir John Falstaff, the roguish and rotund companion to Prince Hal in the play.

Ian McKellen takes a fall

The show was cancelled, and the audience was evacuated from the Noël Coward Theatre on the West End in London.

According to the BBC, McKellen fell off the stage during a battle scene. The actor "cried out in pain" and staff rushed to his aid.

An audience member shared their reaction to the "very shocking" incident.

“As far as I saw, he was conscious because he was asking for assistance,” the person added.

Speedy recovery

Deadline reports that the actor suffered a fractured wrist.

In a post on X, McKellen thanked his doctors and said he is making a "speedy" recovery.

Indeed, it was initially reported that McKellen would return as early as Wednesday for a matinee.

But the show's return has been postponed until Thursday, and the theater says it looks forward to McKellen getting back on stage "as soon as he is ready."

Shakespeare, Lord of The Rings

McKellen was knighted by the late Queen Elizabeth II. He is perhaps most famous for playing the wizard Gandalf in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, as well as Magneto in X-Men. 

The actor has played most of Shakespeare's big characters, including Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear. This is his first time playing Falstaff, one of Shakespeare's most celebrated comic characters.

McKellen was initially reluctant to take the role, but he said director Robert Icke "turned Falstaff into a believable character rather than an exaggeration."

Speaking with the AP in September, the actor acknowledged his career was nearing its end.

"I'm not a fool - I don't think I, I won't be acting for much longer," he said.

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