The Hilarious Outcome of Gandalf and Dumbledore Doppelganger Situation

The Hilarious Outcome of Gandalf and Dumbledore Doppelganger Situation
Image credit: Warner Bros., New Line Cinema

The actors behind the two greatest movie wizards are still mistaken for each other.


  • Some celebrities are often mistaken for each other.
  • Harry Potter's Michael Gambon is often confused with LOTR's Ian McKellen.
  • Michael Gambon has actually posed for Ian McKellen on several occasions.
  • The two actors are often mistaken for each other, even after Gambon's death.

Many celebrities have lookalikes. Sometimes their lookalikes are also famous. For example, how well can you tell the difference between Bryce Dallas Howard and Jessica Chastain? Seems like a tall order, doesn't it?

Interestingly, sometimes it's the characters that get people confused. You must have mistaken The Lord of the Rings' Gandalf for Harry Potter's Dumbledore at least once. And it turns out that this all-too-common mistake has had consequences for many fans of the franchises?

Is Your Autograph from the Right Wizard?

As a rule of thumb, people like to have their favorite actors, musicians, and writers' autographs. But when it comes to look-alike actors, how can you be sure you're asking for the right one? Apparently, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter fans have made this mistake quite often.

'The late lamented Michael Gambon who played the other wizard, you know, Dumbledore, and I played Gandalf – we were often mistaken for each other. And I think he based his makeup and beard on mine, actually. Anyway, one day I was going to see him in a show, and after it, I said, "Do you ever get mistaken for me?" He said, "Oh, the whole time!" And I said, "Well, what do you do?" He said, "They bring me their wretched 10by8's of you as Gandalf." I said, "What d'you do?" He said, "I just sign your name,"' Ian McKellen shared in a recent interview.

Posthumous Confusion

Sadly, Michael Gambon died in 2023. But people still mistake Ian McKellen for him and vice versa. What's even more hilarious is that even mentioning the Harry Potter actor's death doesn't really help distinguish between the actors.

'Last week, I was waiting for the Docklands Light Railway to take me back from the West End to home. And the voice behind me said, "Excuse me!" I turned around, there were two young women in their twenties, and one of them said, "Are you Michael Gambon?" And I said, "Michael Gambon is dead." She said, "Yes, I know. But are you Michael Gambon?" I said, "Michael Gambon is dead!" And with that as an exit line, I swam on to the DLR. But she followed. And she was laughing and giggling with her pal. And I think what she was doing, she was texting her friend saying, "I've just seen a ghost!"' Ian McKellen said.

Source: YouTube.

Have you ever mistaken Ian McKellen's Gandalf for Michael Gambon's Dumbledore?