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Capo Famiglia
Full Member
May 19, 2014
(This is one of several deals shortly to be announced - p)



Alan Samson, Chairman & Publisher, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, has acquired World rights in a biography of Sir Ian McKellen by Garry O’Connor. Samson bought rights from Peter Cox at Redhammer Management Ltd.

Sir Ian is that rarest of characters: a celebrity whose distinguished political and social service has transcended his enormous fame and international stardom to reach far beyond the stage and screen.

The breadth of his endeavour - professional, personal and political - has been truly staggering. Of some 400 stage and film roles, there are only three, in his own estimation, of which he has not been proud. Iconic roles have not been in short supply: Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings being perhaps the most universally-recognised and well-loved. Add to all this McKellen's tireless political activism in the cause of gay equality, and you have a veritable phenomenon.

This intimate and definitive biography will probe the heart of the actor, recreating for the reader his greatest stage roles, and exploring the inner man in his personal relationships. It will define in a complete and compelling way what makes him tick.

McKellen's life story has been a constantly developing drama. He is an enigmatic and complex being; and parts of the book may be controversial, even explosive, given his consistent ability to shock and surprise.

Garry O'Connor is a biographer and novelist, noted for his publications on theatrical and literary figures. He has written acclaimed biographies of Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, Paul Scofield, Peggy Ashcroft and Alec Guinness. O'Connor has written and presented programmes for radio, including Campion's Ghost for BBC Radio 4, adapted from his novel about John Donne.

Alan Samson said: “Sir Ian McKellen’s magnificent talent, the range of roles he has played, his activism and longevity deserve a biography of the highest quality, and Garry O’Connor is the perfect author to address this remarkable and truly dramatic life.”

Garry O’Connor said: “As McKellen celebrates his eightieth year, still working flat-out, he is one of the most recognised faces on the planet. Chronicling his epic life and his ever-burning ambition, together with the richness of his character and his riveting professionalism, has been not only a revelation of exciting renewal but also a great pleasure .”

Peter Cox said: “Weidenfeld & Nicolson is the manifest home for this authoritative work that will be referred to decades hence. Garry has already richly profiled “the Greats” of British stage and screen, to which pantheon Sir Ian’s name can now be justly added.”

Notes to editors:

  • Ian McKellen The Biography will be published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in September 2019 in hardback, export trade paperback, e-book and audio with the mass-market paperback to follow in September 2020
  • Published in the year of McKellen's eightieth birthday, 2019
  • The inner life of a national treasure and cultural icon, the recipient of six Olivier Awards, a Tony, a Golden Globe, two Oscar nominations and four BAFTA nominations, and a champion of LGBT rights worldwide
  • Written by an acclaimed biographer of subjects such as Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, Paul Scofield, Peggy Ashcroft and Alec Guinness
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