Ian McKellen's Height
5ft 10.5in (179 cm)
Peak height was 5ft 11in (180 cm)
British actor best known for his portrayal of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings movies and Magneto in The X-Men. When asked about his height, he once said: "It depends on whether I'm standing up straight. Probably about six feet".
. Granted I think he might have shrunk 1cm since his heyday of about 5ft 11.5, he does hold good posture in photos and on film and knows many a trick when posing - in fact, he has his own technique: "The McKellen Technique"
He's also wise to the tricks of camera's, when asked about his height in regards to X-Men: "Tyler Mane is nearly a foot taller than I am but there was no intention to trick you into thinking otherwise. The camera can, however, give the impression that an actor close to the lens is larger than one who is more distant"
Photos by PR Photos
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Add a Comment 62 comments
Average Guess (12 Votes)
Peak: 5ft 11.65in (182cm)
Current: 5ft 10.65in (179.4cm)
JAK said on 10/Feb/17
Rob, have you seen Ian McKellen's episode of Who Do You Think You Are? Despite having what I would describe as a stooped, "old man" posture he still came across as tall. He was as tall or taller than all of the experts, many of which were younger than him. I'm not saying he was ever taller than 5'11", I just found it interesting that he appeared to be so tall.
Sandy Cowell said on 13/Jan/17
@ Rob - Yes! Nail it he certainly did, from his fight scenes with Christopher Lee to the laughter at the very end!
said on 12/Jan/17
I agree with Mark's comment from 12th May last year! He is the best Gandalf ever!
When Peter Jackson chose his cast for 'the Lord of the Rings', he wanted them to look like they'd just stepped out of the pages of the books and he didn't fail with any of them as they were all so fantastic!
I would have given Ian 5ft11, but his actual height isn't far off! He is also in a comedy series, the name of which I forget right now, and he does look a teeny bit shorter in that, but he has an excellent posture, which is very much to his credit.
I am fond of his voice; he has the sort of voice that I can listen to and never grow tired of! 🎬🎭📣 👌❤
Editor Rob: I had rewatched LOTR trilogy after a long while and he really nailed that part of Gandalf, I am not so sure about his claim of near 6ft though, I suppose if breathing in and standing at his tallest in his 30's, he might have measured over 5ft 11 though.
said on 3/Jan/17
is Ian McKellen 5ft 10.5in barefoot or in shoes?
Editor Rob: I think somewhere in 5ft 11 barefoot range 20 years ago, but now he might be about 5ft 10 barefoot.
Mark said on 12/May/16
Best Gandalf ever!
His height is just fine even though he shrank!
Johno said on 12/Mar/16
said on 18/Feb/16
Rob he has shrank quite a bit, he always has around 1.25 inches on Sir Patrick Stewart and Orlando Bloom. I don't see above 5'9.5 today Rob.
Editor Rob: he could be 5ft 10 today
MOF said on 2/Sep/15
Walked right past him a year ago, came so close I almost bumped into him. I'm exactly 5'11" and he appeared to equal to my height. He may have been wearing boots or big shoes, couldn't tell.
said on 12/Dec/14
@teej, are you sure Harry wasn't wearing a pair of those?
teej said on 6/Dec/14
I dont think he's 5'11 after i saw him with 5'10 harry styles on graham norton show. Harry looked 1 and a half inches taller comfartably. Could he have shrunk that much?
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 29/Oct/14
182cm peak, Rob?
Max M. said on 28/Jul/14
I,ve researched and he is 5,10
Byron T. said on 5/Feb/14
Thanks for the downgrade, Rob! Photo evidence has proved he's shorter than a 5'11'' Michael Fassbender.
Super6Feet3Inches/6'3.25" said on 3/Feb/14
Hey Rob do you think Ian McKellen was still 5'11" in lord of the rings 1 or 5'10.75"
Bundy said on 17/Jan/14
I have to agree McKellen is shorter then Fassbender. He definitely needs to be downgraded to 5'10". What's the hold up, Rob. He may have once been 5'11" but he is for sure much shorter nowadays as you even say so yourself.
cole said on 18/Dec/13
Yeah around 5'10 now seems more likely. He's shorter than Fassbender.
Seanmc said on 22/Nov/13
Saw him last month in Whole Foods, TriBeCa NYC. Definitely 5'11". Bigger frame than I thought as well. Search pics of him and Michael Fassbender and you will see what I mean. Definitely not a frail guy and more like the super heroes he plays :)
dmeyer said on 15/Nov/13
I agree 6'9 Is too tall
Lorne??? said on 26/Sep/13
Remember Mckellen is like 74 now, at the height where height loss truly sets in.
Iceman said on 24/Sep/13
Ian McKellen looks shorter then Fassbender and doesn't look 3 inches taller then Patrick Stewart. 5'10" seems more believable for Mckellen.
said on 9/Sep/13
If Patrick stewart is listed at 5'8", which seems about right, probably no less, McKellen must be about 5'11" at least, probably closer to 6' when younger:
McKellen looks at least 3" taller here.
jtm said on 31/Aug/13
he could have been 5'11 when he was younger but he is no more than 5'10 now.
said on 8/Aug/13
Rob, at age 74, what do you think the maximum height Ian McKellen can be?
[Editor Rob: somewhere in 5ft 10-10.5 range I think he could be now]
gsbr said on 24/Jul/13
Today, he looks about the same height as the 5'11" Michael Fassbender.
SAK said on 2/May/13
He is shorter now. Probably 5f11 in his prime.
Byron T. said on 30/Dec/12
@ Sam: Judging from the photo you had provided, I don't think Ian McKellen can be less than 5'10.'' There is more than 1 inch height difference between him and a 5'8'' Andy Serkis.
said on 10/Dec/12
At age 73, McKellen looks to be less than 5'10" today besides 6'2" Richard Armitage. I think it's time for a "current height" downgrade, don't you Rob?:
DaShakes said on 6/Feb/12
@Arnold, I agree 6'9 anywhere in the world is very tall. I'm merely 5'8 so I wish I were taller. I get picked on for being small when technically I'm of average height (Asian). I hope I'll be able to hit a strong 5'9 or 10 once I'm done growing. Got a few more years to do that lol
Arnold Darscjiae said on 1/Feb/12
I am really tall and I regard that as a problem. When I was 11 I was 5'10 and I wanted to be 5'11. When I was fifteen I was a massive 6'4 and now I am 6'9!! I hate being so tall as people keep making comments such as hows the weather up there. One person even went as far as pretending to think I was a lamp post! Some people wish they were tall, I wish I was small.
jake, 1.82 m- 1.83 m- 1.84 m said on 26/Jan/12
5" 11.25 peak, 5" 10.5 now.
dunstabledan said on 25/Nov/11
'5 "11 (180.5) looks about right, Im 181 in flat trainers, and met him on set of X-Men, he was nearly exactly same as myself. Nice old fella too, and a great actor, which is of course what counts.
Aratirion said on 12/Sep/07
No way, McKellen is 5'10. He's taller than Viggo Mortensen and Orlando Bloom, which makes him at least 5'11. I think 5'11 is quite accurate, but he can be a little bit taller.
Jovin said on 19/Aug/07
He was in Singapore last month doing a play called 'King Lear' and seagull and I got a very lucky chance to meet and chat with Mr McKellen. Very nice man. I am a legit 5-10.75" and he looked as tall as me 5-10.5 to 5-11 is very very certain for sure, no more, no less. Believe it or not.
Anonymous said on 22/Jul/07
Saw him last night at a play, amazing actor. He looked about 5'10.5-5'11
bam said on 12/Jun/07
5-10.5, glenn's sighting confirms this. Great actor.
Anonymous said on 5/May/07
I dunno. Looks 5'10, say 5'10.5 if we consider Emily Watson (on the left) is 5'8. But then we don't see their footwear nor where they are standing. I always thought she was more like 5'7.5 really. Well, it's merely an observation.
George H. said on 17/Apr/07
I think I may have told this story before, but I had an uncle who died at 93 and who was still the same height as his driver's license said when he was in his prime. The guy stood rigid until his very last day, just lost a bit of weight.
said on 16/Apr/07
hey rob is it possible to shrink only 1 cm at 60 years old i have read a french article that say we loose 1.5 cm from 50 years old every 10 yearsmaybe people that take good care of theyr bone by exercising
[Editor Rob: from the age 50->70 I think on average close to a 3/4 inch loss is common during that period in men, at least that's what one study suggested with decent sample size. Other studies give varying results.
From 30->50 loss is possible of course in men but for the majority not really noticeable, but 1/4 inch by 50 isn't that unfeasible so 1 inch by 70. Actually a lot of older men also develop more hunched appearance so many might look 2 inches shorter but they unhinge and stand properly for measurement and voila, they haven't shrunk as much as they look to have shrunk...
Women lose more.]
Zach said on 12/Nov/06
Saw him on Parkinson last night, he did seem to have an inch on Parky so 5'11 sounds right. He does actually have a very small 'old-man' frame which without perspective may make him seems shorter than he is.
anonymous2 said on 12/Sep/06
I saw him a long time ago, when he was in his early 50s, and I'd have given him 5'11 then.
Frank2 said on 30/May/06
I'm sure he was standing on something. You don't lose that much height in just ten years. And he's not some old fart either. Ian's only 67 this month! I'm almost sixty and I haven't lost a centemeter in height.
Picture said on 30/May/06
Are you going to give this great actor a peak height Editor Rob?
dmeyer said on 26/May/06
defenetly around 6 feet in heyday he barly looks shorter than clinton
Frank2 said on 30/Apr/06
The drag photo was a joke. Harris was never 6'1".
Ed said on 30/Apr/06
To be perfectly honest in your first pic Frank2 I see zero evidence of lifts with Mckellan as Gandalf at all. His feet are in the shadow of his robe. Plus there are plenty of other shots of him in his Gandalf outfit, where you can see the boots have maybe an inch heel. As far as the drag pic, well the guy's in drag, so yeah high heels would be a part of that getup, I don't know what evidence that proves on him ALWAYS wearing lifts other than he dressed in drag! The other pics of Mckellan and Bloom are on a lousy angle with Bloom and Mckellan turned to the viewer! I don't dispute the guy is maybe 5ft10 now and likes to stand on his toes in some pictures, but I can't buy nor have you shown any evidence of him wearing lifts in the LOTR films, that's purely spectulation on your part. Regarding Harris, maybe he was shorter in his older age around 5ft10.5 to 5ft11.5, Rob still has him billed 6ft1, and Ford who I think was most likely 5ft11.5 in Patriot Games was still shorter. Maybe Harris borrowed Mckellan's lifts?
Frank2 said on 29/Apr/06
He wore lifts to make himself appear much taller since his character was supposedly tall. I didn't need to read about it. I just watched the film. I've seen him in the flesh and he's not 6'. He's not even my height.
And for the last time, Richard Harris was not 6'1". He was at the very most about 5'11.5". And that was when he was much younger. He was half a head shorter than Gary Cooper in The Wreck of the Mary Deare.
Logic people! Logic! Remove emotion from the equation and seek the truth though plain, deductive reasoning. It worked for Sherlock and it'll work for you.
Ed said on 28/Apr/06
I'm still interested why you think Mckellan wore lifts, where did you hear that? Can you tell me of a partcular site where this information is? If he wore huge lifts, how big? 2 to 3 inch lifts, with that he'd be 6ft to 6ft1 in the LOTR films at 5ft10, or 6ft2 if he's really 5ft11 barefoot. That's a little excessive! I agree Ford is 6ft, which would make sense since Harris was taller in Patriot Games at about 6ft1.
Frank2 said on 28/Apr/06
Harrison Ford is at least 6'. McKellen wore lifts in LOTR.
Ed said on 27/Apr/06
So Frank2 what about Mckellan's huge lifts in LOTR? Plus, I still don't see how Harris was taller than Ford unless Ford is 5ft10.I say Harris was 6ft1, and Ford 6ft at the time of Patriot Games.
Frank2 said on 26/Apr/06
Then Gary Cooper was 6'5" because he towered over Harris in The Wreck of the Mary Deare.
Ed said on 25/Apr/06
In all the photos I've seen he wears flat soled leather boots, with maybe an inch heel at most. Did you read this somewhere that he wore lifts in the Lord of the Rings movies, because I honestly don't see it. Plus, even Rob has Harris at 6ft1, and he seemed almost an inch taller than Ford in Patriot Games.
Frank2 said on 25/Apr/06
And to answer Ed's second question, McKellon wore huge lifts in The Lord of the Rings.
Frank2 said on 25/Apr/06
Richard Harris wasn't 6'1". In The Wreck of the Mary Deare he was several inches shorter than 6'3" Gary Cooper. I pegged him at just under six feet. I have an actor friend who's 5'10" and he claims Harris was only a little taller than him when he worked with him back in the seventies. Of course this is the same fellow who told me that Dean Martin was 5'9" so I take it with a grain of salt. Martin was 5'10" when I saw him.
Ed said on 24/Apr/06
Hey Frank2, I thought Richard Harris was 6ft1, he looked taller than Harrison Ford in Patriot Games, unless Ford is shorter? Regarding Mckellan's height, if 5ft10 is what everyone keeps saying he is, than what are the rest of the Lord of the Rings cast members. Are they all 5ft10 or smaller? I was always under the impression Mckellan and Mortensen were the tallest at 5ft11, followed by Bloom and Bean at 5ft10. All pictures point to this, but pictures can be deceiving, I'm also talking about movie footage not those candid shots with Mckellan on his toes.
Frank2 said on 24/Apr/06
Watch Gods and Monsters. Ian is obviously an inch to an inch and a half shorter than David Dukes who was just slightly taller than me and I'm 5'11". I met David through a mutual lady friend who once dated him and he was no taller than 5'11.5". I seriously doubt that Ian is any more than 5'10". He might have been taller when he was much younger, but by no more than a inch. He does like to stand on his tiptoes when being photographed.
Elio said on 23/Apr/06
He looked pretty tall when he was in Coronation Street last year. However the cast is generally quite short.
Glenn said on 23/Apr/06
I met Lee 17 years ago.he was 6-4.Ian looked my height slouched.so no more than 5-10.Frank is right.
Ed said on 16/Apr/06
Rob, why isn't he using his Mckellan Technique in this pic of him and Fraser. He has to be doing it in his pic with Christopher Lee you posted. There's no way Fraser is taller than Lee. I thought Fraser was 6ft2ish by the way, I didn't realize he was a legit 6ft3.
[Editor Rob: he's said 6ft 2 and 3 in the past...I think lee maybe isn't standing as well he could there...]
Frank2 said on 25/Mar/06
That photo of McKellen and 6'3" Fraser shows a five inch difference. I'm sure Ian is no more than 5'10".
Frank2 said on 2/Mar/06
He never has looked to be any more than five ten. Just watched Gods and Monsters and he looks like he's at least five inches shorter than six foot three Brendan Fraser. Also he's at least an inch shorter than the now late David Dukes who I know was five eleven and a half.
andrew said on 4/Feb/06
He has shrunk much more than a cm, even you shrink an inch from morning till evening. His height is exactly the same as Viggo Mortensen's: 5'11". That 6' was really long ago.
jokey said on 3/Nov/05
McKellen looks like he's wearing huge, height increasing shoes in a scene from the first X-Men. He towers over the Toad guy in that scene and doesn't look short as he should next to Mane. I don't know if Magneto supposed to a tall guy. He was also made to look huge early in Lord of the Rings, so it's sometimes easy to think of McKellen as bigger guy than he really is.