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Actor Ian McKellen, 85, is looking forward to returning to work after his fall off a London stage

FILE - Actor Sir Ian McKellen speaks during the press conference for the film "Mr. Holmes" at the 2015 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015. McKellen has been hospitalized Monday, June 17, 2024, after toppling off a London stage during a fight scene in a play. The 85-year-old actor known for playing Gandalf in the “Lord of the Rings” films and his many stage roles was playing John Falstaff in a production of Player Kings at the Noel Coward Theatre. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

LONDON (AP) — Actor Ian McKellen said Tuesday he is looking forward to returning to work after he toppled off a London stage mid-performance and was hospitalized.

McKellen, 85, said he was "hugely indebted" to medics who treated him after the tumble on Monday night during a performance of “Player Kings” at London's Noel Coward Theatre.

“They have assured me that my recovery will be complete and speedy and I am looking forward to returning to work,” he said on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Performances on Tuesday and Wednesday were canceled after the accident and are scheduled to resume on Thursday.

The stage and screen veteran, who played Gandalf in the “Lord of the Rings” films, cried out in pain after the fall, according to a BBC journalist at the theater. McKellen was playing the roguish John Falstaff in “Player Kings,” an adaptation of William Shakespeare's two “Henry IV” history plays, directed by Robert Icke.

Theatergoers were startled when McKellen lost his footing and fell off the stage in a fight scene involving Toheeb Jimoh's Prince Hal and Henry Percy, played by Samuel Edward-Cook.

“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.”

Staff and two doctors in the audience helped the actor, the theater said in a statement. The theater was evacuated and the performance was canceled.

McKellen played Magneto in the “X-Men” films and is one of Britain's most acclaimed Shakespearean actors, with roles including Richard III, Macbeth and King Lear.

He has won a Tony Award — for “Amadeus” — several Olivier Awards, and has been nominated for two Academy Awards, five Emmys and several BAFTA awards.

The Associated Press

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