Sir Ian McKellen, whose aeonian wizard, Gandalf, in the Tolkien movies has made him globally famous—The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released this month—met me for lunch at Lucques, the award-winning restaurant in West Hollywood, Los Angeles.

It so happens that his contemporary Sir Michael Gambon (the only other actor in theater who can stand with McKellen on equal terms with Sir Laurence Olivier) also plays a famous wizard, in Harry Potter. “I often get mistaken for Dumbledore,” McKellen mentioned amusingly. “One wizard is very much like another.”

When the two met backstage recently, McKellen asked Gambon if he was ever mistaken for Gandalf. “All the time!” he replied.

“That’s good,” said McKellen. “And what do you do?”

“Oh,” Gambon told him, “I just sign your name!”

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