Ian McKellen: Legendary actor was ‘screaming in agony’ after fall, says eye witness

Ian McKellen: Legendary actor was ‘screaming in agony’ after fall, says eye witness

WATCH NOW: Eye witness recalls actor Sir Ian McKellen's theatre fall

GB News
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 18/06/2024

- 16:12

The 85-year-old actor was rushed to hospital on Monday night after falling off stage during his live theatre performance

An audience member who witnessed Sir Ian McKellen's fall during a performance of Player Kings on Monday night has recalled how the legendary actor was in "agony", following the incident.

The Lord of the Rings star fell from the stage during the performance at London's Noel Coward Theatre during a thrilling fight scene.

Addressing the incident after McKellen was rushed to hospital, a representative for the theatre told The Metro that the acting legend is set to make a "speedy and full recovery" following a scan.

They added: "Ian is in good spirits. The production has made the decision to cancel the performance on Tuesday, June 18 so Ian can rest.

Eye witness and Sir Ian McKellen

Sir Ian McKellen was 'screaming in agony' after suffering a fall during his show, an eye witness claims

GB News / PA

"Those affected will be contacted by their point of purchase as soon as possible tomorrow. Thank you to doctors Rachel and Lee who were on hand in the audience and to all the venue staff for their support."

Discussing the incident on GB News, audience member Charlie Johnson said he was "shocked" by Sir Ian's fall and it was a case of a "foot misplacement" on the stage.

Johnson explained: "There were strobe lights going off, and it all went black for a second, and you can kind of see the silhouette of Ian McKellen playing Falstaff coming out from the wings, at which point on the stage there was sort of a step down just as the stage meets the audience.

"And I think what happened was he sort of misplaced his foot and lost his balance. I was sitting on the front row just to the right of where he fell off. He sort of dove had first landed on an audience member."

Player Kings theatre sign

Ian McKellen is currently starring as John Falstaff in the West End production of Player Kings


Describing McKellen's condition, Johnson noted that immediately after the fall, he was "screaming and in agony within seconds".


Praising the quick response of the theatre team, Johnson admitted at first he was "confused" as to what was happening, but realised after McKellen was screaming "help me" that something more sinister had happened.

Johnson told GB News: "It was difficult, obviously, to hear that and see it happen to such a fantastic person.

"The first two rows were ushered out really quickly, and then within 30 seconds the rest of the auditorium was emptied out. So I didn't really manage to catch more of him other than the initial fall."

When asked how the audience reacted when the play was halted and they were ushered out, Johnson noted many fans were "crying" as they were leaving, and it was "distressing" to witness.

Eye witness

Theatre officials have confirmed McKellen will make a 'speedy and full recovery' following the incident

GB News

He recalled: "As we were leaving, people were crying. People were in tears because people had come probably from across the world to come and see him act in this play.

"And clearly they look up to him, so to see that happen to someone that they admire, who's a fantastic person, it was shocking.

"He's an icon both on and off the stage. His work for Stonewall and LGBT causes, in addition to the fact that I pretty much grew up on Lord of the Rings and X-Men, him as Gandalf.

"His acting repertoire stretches far, far more than that, on both stage and in film."

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