Ian McKellen smiling at an event.
(Dave Benett/Getty Images for The Wolseley Hospitality Group)

We’re Sending Every Good Vibe We Have to Ian McKellen After the Actor Takes a Tumble Onstage

Or rather OFF stage

Actor Sir Ian McKellen was hospitalized after falling off stage during a performance of Player Kings on Monday, June 17. The 85-year-old actor was performing the role of John Falstaff when the incident happened, resulting in the play being immediately stopped, the audience sent away, and McKellen rushed to hospital.

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The accident occurred at the Noël Coward Theatre during a battle scene between the Prince of Wales and Henry Percy in Robert Icke’s modern adaptation of Henry IV. Audience members were noted to have seen McKellen trip near the front of the stage before he fell off the edge. The house lights immediately went up and staff rushed to help the actor as he reportedly cried out. According to The Guardian McKellen is recovering well and is “in good spirits” and expected to make “a speedy and full recovery.” Tuesday night’s performance was also canceled in order to allow the actor to rest. He was initially expected to be back on the stage for Wednesday’s matinee but that performance was also canceled.

The actor released a statement through his personal publicist Clair Dobbs which was reported by Deadline. The statement read,

“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.”

According to Deadline, McKellen has suffered a fractured wrist from his fall.

Audience members were obviously shocked and concerned to witness the actor’s accident. One audience member, Sandro Trapani, spoke to the BBC about the accident saying it was “very shocking,” adding “I really hope that he is going to be all right. As far as I saw, he was conscious because he was asking for assistance.”

Ian McKellen as Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, The fellowship of the Rings
(New Line Cinema)

McKellen’s career as an actor has spanned over 60 years, working across stage, television, and film. His most prominent roles on the silver screen include that of the complex antagonist Magneto in the X-Men franchise as well as his career-defining turn as the wizard Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogy. On stage, McKellen has played some of the most famous characters in English theatre history including numerous Shakespearean roles such as King Lear, Coriolanus, Richard II, and Macbeth.

This isn’t the first time an injury has interfered with the actor’s work. Five years ago, he was forced to cancel a performance of King Lear after injuring his leg whilst running for the train. Rather than allow the audience to be left with nothing, he instead sat on the edge of the stage and opened up a Q&A session. We wish McKellen a speedy recovery!

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Laura Pollacco
Laura Pollacco (she/her) is a contributing writer here at The Mary Sue, having written for digital media since 2022 and has a keen interest in all things Marvel, Lord of the Rings, and anime. She has worked for various publications including We Got This Covered, but much of her work can be found gracing the pages of print and online publications in Japan, where she resides. Outside of writing she treads the boards as an actor, is a portrait and documentary photographer, and takes the little free time left to explore Japan.