Fri, 08 Feb 2013 18:45:00 GMT | By PTI

McKellen awarded honorary degree

'The Hobbit' actor Ian McKellen awarded honorary degree by co-star James Nesbitt in Northern Ireland

McKellen awarded honorary degree

 Getty Images

London: 'The Hobbit' star Ian McKellen was handed an honorary degree from staff at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland.

The 73-year-old actor was awarded the special honour by his 'The Hobbit' co-star James Nesbitt, who is the university's chancellor, reported Daily Star online.

McKellen took to the podium and revealed how his family's Irish roots shaped his own strict religious upbringing.

"In puritanical Ballymena (Northern Ireland), it is said the park keepers used to tie up the children's swings on Sundays to keep the Lord's Day holy," he said.

"In the same spirit, at our home when I was a kid, we weren't allowed to play cards, nor board games on Sundays. No snap, Ludo or even jigsaws," he continued.

McKellen then stood in for Nesbitt and gave the Chancellor's Lecture, using the opportunity to speak about gay rights.

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