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That time Ian McKellen & James Laurenson gave us one of the first—and fieriest—gay kisses on TV

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announced that actor James Laurenson had passed away in April at the age of 84. Rest in peace.Born in New Zealand in 1940, Laurenson moved to the U.K.

in the ’60s where he began acting professionally, working on both stage and screen. Over the decades, his notable credits include The Crown, Coronation Street, Australian detective series Boney, and, in his final film role, Matilda: The Musical.And though he wasn’t gay himself, Laurenson is fondly remembered as being part of a very important moment in LGBTQ+ pop culture history: He was one half of the first-ever gay kiss on British television!Subscribe to our newsletter for your front-row seat to all things entertainment with a sprinkle of everything else queer.And the other half?

None other than Sir Ian McKellen.Back in 1970, the actors starred in a production of Christopher Marlowe’s classic Renaissance play Edward II at the Picadilly Theatre in London.

McKellen played the titular character in one of his first breakthrough roles, with Laurenson as Piers Gaveston, the king’s “favorite,” a.k.a.

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