Sir Ian McKellen, Gandalf in 'Lord Of The Rings', Reflects On 50-Year Career As An Actor

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PRESS ASSOCIATION -- Sir Ian McKellen is pleased his success in Hollywood came in later life, as it didn't distract him from his passion for acting.

The 72-year-old began his career in theatre 50 years ago but rocketed to international fame starring as Gandalf in The Lord of The Rings film trilogy in 2001.

Sir Ian told The Guardian he is glad he entered the spotlight later in life, saying: "If I had become a well-known film actor and thought, now I must have a film career, that's a very difficult thing to organise."

He went on: "Theatre is relatively easy if you're British - you're living in the theatre capital of the world, London, there are so many places you can work, still.

"If I had begun to think of myself as a film actor I think I would have got distracted.

"I'm much happier... it has all worked out wonderfully well. I was way into my 60s so my head was not likely to get swollen. I was just glad to be recognised as being an actor who was succeeding. I liked that side of the acclaim, if that's what you call it. To be a star. That's never appealed to me really."

The X-Men star, who has prostate cancer, which he has to keep monitoring, says he talks about age a lot, but isn't angry about getting older.

He said: "That would be very egotistical, thinking it wasn't appropriate for me to die. But of course, we all think we're immortal a little bit don't we. So working is a way of keeping mortality at bay."

He added: "I have got prostate cancer and I have to keep monitoring that. It's no problem, it's under control and I'm very cool about it but other people are dying from it. "

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