With the release of X-Men: Days of Future Past today, there could have been PLENTY of contenders for which of our fave celebs to showcase.* But for one of our most anticipated movies of the year, choosing only one celeb just wouldn't suffice. So we bring you double the awesome, double the Sirs, by double the Mandys! (Mandy C. will be dishing on Sir Patrick, while I'll be giving you the scoop on Sir Ian.)
*In fact, we've already done so for one of them!
Fake Uncle Names: Sir Ian Murray McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart
Sir Ian: Murray seems like a family name, since it's one Sir Ian shares with his father. The name combo might be simple, but it's proof that the man (or woman) makes the name, not the other way around. (Exhibit A: the 'Sir' that proceeds his name.)
Sir Patrick: Patrick comes from the Latin “Patricius,” which means nobleman. Wholly fitting for a man who was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire—a.k.a. knighted—in 2001. His middle name, Hewes, is a derivation of Hughes, meaning “heart” or “mind.” And Stewart comes from the Old English words that mean “household guardian.” Also, please to be noticing the “Sir.” Basically, his name is all sorts of proper.
Dates of Birth: May 25, 1939 (Sir Ian); and July 13, 1940 (Sir Patrick)
Sir Ian: Ooh, shizz -- someone's about to have a milestone birthday! (Can we say "bowler hat party"?!?) Sir Ian's been alive for almost 75 years, and thank goodness for every single one of 'em.
Sir Patrick: Sir Patrick has seen a lot of life in his 73 years, but that doesn’t mean he’s slowing down anytime soon. It merely means that he’s got life experience oozing out of his pores. I bet you could spend days hanging out with him and never get bored or hear the same story twice.
Places of Birth: Burnley, Lancashire, England (Sir Ian); and Mirfield, Yorkshire, England (Sir Patrick)
Sir Ian: A small town in North West England, Burnley shows its pride in its most famous son with a plaque on his old house. Though contrary to the original signage, he wasn't born in that one. Just like anyone who uses Wikipedia for research knows (ahem), you should always, always fact check.
Sir Patrick: Mirfield is located in the middle of England and about a four-hour drive from London, Patrick certainly knew of the big city and all the promises it offered growing up, but wasn’t blinded by the city’s lights. The small town life served him well.
Educational Backgrounds: Bolton School Boys' Division and St. Catharine's College, Cambridge (Sir Ian); and Crowlees Church of England Junior and Infants School and Mirfield Secondary Modern School (Sir Patrick)
Sir Ian: Aside from calling such an accomplished thespian -- nay, human as one of their alumnus, Sir Ian's schools have some nifty nicknames; Bolton's former pupils are Old Girls and Old Boys, while St. Catharine's is known as "Catz" with a Z so you know it's zany.
Sir Ian's been known to drop by Bolton to give talks, which should be reason enough for their attendance record to be 100% ALL THE TIME. St. Catharine's also counts Rebecca Hall and Richard Ayoade among its former students; so basically, someone should use this tenuous link to get these three in the same room ASAP.
Sir Patrick: At Crowlees, Sir Patrick had a teacher named Cecil Dormand who gave him his first copy of Shakespeare and pushed him to perform. And at age 15, he quit school to pursue acting more seriously. I was surprised to learn this; he’s so intelligent and well-spoken. He’s proof to me that standard schooling isn’t the only way to get a well-rounded education.
Where You Have Seen Them:
In addition to his portrayals of these iconic characters, Sir Ian has such an illustrious career that his accolades make up the majority of his résumé. Most recently, he wrapped up Waiting for Godot on Broadway, starring opposite an up-and-coming chap named Patrick Stewart.
Sir Patrick: The first entry on Sir Patrick’s IMDB filmography is from 1964, so chances are good that you’ve seen him in something. His career has included everything from stage to TV to movies to voice performances.
His most famous role—and my personal biased favorite—is that of Jean Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was on TV from 1987–1994 and spawned four feature films. Here are more than 18 minutes of some of his finest moments as Picard.
Sir Patrick is also well known for his role as Professor Charles Xavier in X-Men, X-Men 2, and X-Men: First Class. (I like to pretend that X-Men: The Last Stand doesn’t exist.)
Oh, hello, Sir Ian!
Sir Patrick can also be seen/heard in Family Guy, American Dad, Eleventh Hour, The Hollow Crown, Robin Hood: Men in Tights and in many a play on many a stage the world over.
Where You'll See Them Next:
DUH. And starting today!
Why You'll Adore Them:
One of the first times I remember Sir Ian stealing my heart was when, as Dame
McGonagall Maggie Smith, he stole a kiss from Everyone's SNL Boyfriend, Circa 2002.
"You Shall Not PASS". BRILLZ.
Along with his support of numerous charities, Sir Ian tirelessly campaigns for LGBTQ rights, including being a co-founder of the Stonewall charity in the U.K. And BEST STORY EVER: back in 1988, Sir Ian unsuccessfully lobbied for a politican to chance his stance on Section 28, an act prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality in schools. He was then asked for his autograph afterwards by the same politican. Ever the accessible celebrity, Sir Ian obliged -- by writing, "Fuck off, I'm gay." PWNED.
Dazzling as his wit might be, Sir Ian's generous heart is what really cements his status as one of our new fake uncles.
Admit it. YOU'RE A BIT WEEPY, TOO.
Sir Patrick gave personality to one of the first pop culture characters I can remember adoring during my childhood. ST:TNG made a serious impression on my youth—I can still remember on what channel and at what time we used to watch it as a family—and Captain Jean Luc Picard was a dashing, no nonsense figure who occasionally cracked a well-earned smile (and even once or twice broke out in song). The role also brought us many a facepalm GIF, which I use. Frequently.
Little did I know that Sir Patrick wasn’t such a serious figure all the time. Sir Patrick’s Twitter feed is one of my favorite places on the Internet. There, I have found gems such as these:
But Sir Patrick isn’t all about the frivolity in his personal life. Having dealt with an abusive father growing up, Sir Pat uses his fame to speak out against such things.
He’s also willing to share his vast wealth of acting knowledge with the world. Hopeful thespians, take note.
It may come as a surprise that our new fake uncles only really became friends while filiming the first X-Men. But you wouldn't know it, judging by their easy and UTTERLY MAGICAL rapport (even when they're not even in the same room!).
If all of the above hasn't convinced you that the Sirs are two of the most perfect people on the planet, well ... you're cold and heartless. But, just try and not be persuaded by the power of bowler hats!