Ian Abercrombie (11 September 1934 â€" 26 January 2012) was an English actor.

He played Alfred Pennyworth in Birds of Prey, Justin Pitt (Elaine Benes's boss) during the sixth season of Seinfeld, Rupert Cavanaugh (Ian Hainsworth's butler) in Desperate Housewives, Professor Crumbs in Wizards of Waverly Place, and Palpatine on Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Early life

Ian Abercrombie

Abercrombie was born on 11 September 1934 in Grays, Essex, England. He began his theatrical career during the Blitz in World War II. After his footwork years during which he earned Bronze, Silver, and Gold medals in stage dancing, he performed in London, Scotland, Ireland, and the Netherlands. He moved to the United at States age 17.

He made his American stage debut in 1955 in a production of Stalag 17 with Jason Robards and Jules Munshin. Many plays in summer stock, regional, and off-Broadway followed in a variety of theatrical offerings, from revues to Shakespeare (in a particularly low period, he worked as a magician's assistant for $10 a performance).

In 1957 he was drafted into the U.S. Army and stationed in West Germany as part of Special Services, where he directed the continental premiere of Separate Tables.

In the United States, he went to California for a backers'audition, which went nowhere, but he began a long film and television career. He received awards for his work in Sweet Prince with Keir Dullea; Teeth 'N'smiles; A Doll's House with Linda Purl; and The Arcata Promise, opposite Anthony Hopkins. He received acclaim for the one-man show Jean Cocteauâ€"A Mirror Image.


Abercrombie was known to cult film audiences as Wiseman in the comedy horror film Army of Darkness (1993). He guest-starred in many television series such as Seinfeld, The Nanny, Wizards of Waverly Place, Airwolf, Babylon 5, and NewsRadio.

On radio, he was heard in several productions of the Hollywood Theater of the Ear. Abercrombie voiced Ambrose in 2011's Oscar-nominated Rango. He also portrayed Ganthet in Green Lantern: The Animated Series, completing his work on the latest episode of Cartoon Network show just before his death.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Abercrombie portrayed Chancellor Palpatine / Darth Sidious in the 2008 film, the television adaption, and two spinoff video games (Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes and Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels). Supervising director Dave Filoni said that Ian was very excited that Darth Sidious finally was going to be seen in person and not as a hologram anymore; during Celebration VI, Filoni also mentioned that before his death, Ian did record for most of season 5 as both characters, but did not finish, so actor Tim Curry was brought in to finish.


Ian Abercrombie

Abercrombie died in Hollywood, California, on 26 January 2012 at age 77, from kidney failure.

During Celebration VI (23â€"26 August), there was a show called Vocal Stars of The Clone Wars hosted by James Arnold Taylor, and it included cast members Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein, Dee Bradley Baker, and Tom Kane. They all dedicated the show to Ian and stated that they miss him deeply. Furthermore, in The Clone Wars episode "The Lawless," the opening credits honored him.



External links

Ian Abercrombie
  • Ian Abercrombie at the Internet Movie Database
  • Ian Abercrombie at Find a Grave
  • Ian Abercrombie at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)

Ian Abercrombie

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