HE may be over the age of 70, but Sir Ian McKellen is not afraid to get his kit off on stage.
The actor, who spent his early childhood in Wigan, stripped down to his underwear for a charity performance in New York.
The Hobbit star was at the 14th annual Only Make Believe Gala at the Bernard B Jacobs Theatre to present event honouree and Lord of the Rings enthusiast Alex Karp with part of his Gandalf costume.
Before the presentation, Sir Ian took to the stage dressed as a marathon runner, but removed his outfit to reveal a pair of underwear decorated with Gandalf’s face and the words “You Shall Not Pass.”
Lord of The Rings fans loved the reference: it was in the first movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, where the 74-year-old, in character as Gandalf the wizard, blocks the dragon-like Balrog on a bridge while fleeing through the Mines of Moria.
Gandalf shouts: ‘You shall not pass,’ banging his staff on the precariously high bridge.
The Balrog falls into the abyss as the bridge crumbles, but not before snaring Gandalf by the leg, prompting him to tell his fellow comrades, as he hangs from a ledge: ‘Fly you fools.’
Only Make Believe is a non-profit organisation which performs theatre for children in hospital in NYC and Washington DC.
The fund-raiser will help support the charity’s continuing efforts to entertain chronically ill children. In 2013 alone, Only Make Believe will have performed in 55 hospitals and care facilities.
Sir Ian McKellen is currently in the big city starring in two Broadway plays with fellow X-Men star Sir Patrick Stewart,
Meanwhile, Vicious, a sitcom starring Sir Ian and Sir Derek Jacobi could be aired in America.
The first series will be screened next year.
The six-part comedy, which follows Freddie, an ageing actor played by Sir Ian, and Stuart, played by Sir Derek, as they live together in a cramped Covent Garden flat, premiered in the UK on ITV in April and has been renewed for a second series.
It follows Freddie, an ageing actor played by Sir Ian, and Stuart, played by Sir Derek, who have lived together in a cramped Covent Garden flat for almost 50 years.
An American version of the series is also being considered.