'Lord of the Rings' star will receive Donostia Award

MADRID — Ian McKellen, one of Britain’s most prestigious and commanding stage actors who gained mass popularity as  Gandalf in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, will receive the San Sebastian Festival’s Donostia Award.

A career achievement plaudit, the prize will be presented to McKellen Sept. 23.

The San Sebastian festival praised McKellen’s “tremendous versatility,” which “has led him to play” everything from “the Shakespeare classics to contemporary superheroes.” Indeed, onstage he’s known as the quintessential interpreter of Samuel Beckett, while on film he’s tackled characters from the titular role in “Richard III,” which McKellen he adapted for the bigscreen, to Magento in “X-Men” and the nefarious Leigh Teabing in international blockbuster “The Da Vinci Code.”

Past recipients include Antonio Banderas and Meryl Streep.

McKellen has two Oscar noms: for actor in Bill Condon’s “Gods and Monsters” and for supporting actor in “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.”

McKellen also has a history with the San Sebastian Festival:  he starred in Kenneth McMullen’s “Zina,” which won the fest’s special jury prize in 1985. He won a best actor Silver Shell for “Gods and Monsters” in 1998.

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