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UK actor Ian McKellen hospitalised after falling off London stage

Sir Ian McKellen in happier times on his feet.
Sir Ian McKellen in happier times on his feet. Copyright Joel C Ryan/Invision
Copyright Joel C Ryan/Invision
By Euronews Culture with AP
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The 85-year-old actor is expected to make a full and speedy recovery after he fell off stage during a performance of Player Kings in London.

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British veteran actor, Sir Ian McKellen, has been taken to hospital after falling off the stage during a fight scene while performing in London's West End last night.

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.

Some in the audience reportedly thought it was part of the act, while others gasped as the 85-year-old lost his footing and fell off the stage in a scene with the Prince of Wales and Henry Percy.

Doctors say McKellen is in "good sprits" and is expected to make a full recovery.

A sign for Player Kings at the Noel Coward Theatre in London, starring Sir Ian McKellen
A sign for Player Kings at the Noel Coward Theatre in London, starring Sir Ian McKellenJacob Freedland/AP

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.

“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, a Noel Coward spokesperson said.

The theater was evacuated and the play was cancelled. The production for Tuesday has also been cancelled to give McKellen time to rest and recover.

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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