Ian McKellen, 85, Is Hospitalized After Toppling Off Stage in London

2 minute read

London — Actor Ian McKellen was hospitalized Monday after toppling off a London stage during a fight scene in a play.

The 85-year-old 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.

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.

He lost his footing and fell off the stage in a scene with the Prince of Wales and Henry Percy. The tumble startled theatergoers.

“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."

The theater was evacuated and the play was canceled as medics treated the actor.

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.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com