Case of mistaken identity as kindly stranger confuses Sir Ian McKellen for a tramp

by As one of the world's finest character actors, Sir Ian McKellen knows how to throw himself into a role.

And his latest performance is arguably his most convincing.

The 70-year-old English star was mistaken for a tramp as he took a break from rehearsals for Waiting for Godot in Melbourne.

Still wearing his scruffy threadbare costume and with his hair long and wild, Ian was approached by a kindly stranger who gave him an Australian dollar.

Writing on his Twitter page, the Lancashire-born thespian explained: "During the dress rehearsal of Godot, I crouched by the stage door of the Comedy Theatre, getting some air, my bowler hat at my feet (and) seeing an unkempt old man down on his luck, a passer-by said, 'Need some help brother?' and put a dollar in my hat."

"I hope the Melbourne audiences will be as generous," he added.

He went on to reveal that same dollar is now his 'lucky talisman' and is lodged between two drawing pins on the board above his dressing room mirror.

Inspired by the act of generosity, Sir Ian decided to recreate the experience to help draw publicity for the Samuel Beckett play with a little help from his co-star, Roger Rees.

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