Sir Ian McKellen has planned an elaborate "celebratory" funeral in preparation for his death.

Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen

The 'Lord of the Rings' star - who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2006 - admitted he thinks about death "every day" and once spent a whole evening planning a memorial service "wish list" he would like to mark his life after he has passed away.

Sir Ian, 78, reveals in upcoming documentary 'McKellen: Playing The Part': "I would like the memorial to take place in a celebratory way - in a theatre. Free admission. And I'd want a lot of beautiful people."

When McKellen had finished planning his funeral he came to the conclusion that it would be so good that he wants to have a "dress rehearsal" so he can attend himself.

He said: "And when I finished this I thought, 'Ooh, I'd love to go to that funeral.' So I hope I might arrange a dress rehearsal before I go."

The 'Vicious' actor admits death has started to fill his thoughts on a regular basis as he sees his friends' health and faculties decline, and it just makes him more determined to keep working.

He said: "As I see other people getting decrepit and unable to work, I think, well, that may well happen to me ... But in the meantime why deny myself the pleasure of rehearsing a play?"

The 'X-Men' star announced in 2012 that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer six years previously but that it was under control.

Reassuring fans, he said at the time: "There is no cause for alarm. I am examined regularly and the cancer is contained.

McKellen will return to the West End stage in London this summer, starring in 'King Lear' - which comes 66 years after he performed his first Shakespearean role when he was still a schoolboy.

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