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Ian Mcdiarmid

Ian Mcdiarmid

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: August 11, 1944 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: United Kingdom Profession: actor, artistic director, director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Despite a résumé rich in classical stage roles and numerous accolades from the British critics, Scottish actor Ian McDiarmid was a pop cultural nonentity until he took an undemanding paying job as the despotic Emperor Palpatine in "Return of the Jedi" (1983), the second sequel to George Lucas' paradigm-smashing space opera "Star Wars" (1977). Obscured under heavy makeup for his time onscreen, McDiarmid could not have anticipated how much of a bite the role would take out of his professional life. Immortalized in Lucasfilm merchandising for 15 years as he returned to a purposeful career as an actor, director and theatrical impresario, McDiarmid was recalled to the franchise for "The Phantom Menace" (1999), a prequel to "Star Wars" that required the veteran actor to reinterpret the same character fifty years younger. He would play the vampiric Palpatine twice more, in "Attack of the Clones" (2002) and "Revenge of the Sith" (2005), but the stage would remain McDiarmid's true home. In 2008, the 61-year-old actor suffered a heart attack while performing at London's Gielgud Theater, but staved off an EMS crew until after he had taken his curtain call. Seen later as the star of the U.K. miniseries "City of...

Despite a résumé rich in classical stage roles and numerous accolades from the British critics, Scottish actor Ian McDiarmid was a pop cultural nonentity until he took an undemanding paying job as the despotic Emperor Palpatine in "Return of the Jedi" (1983), the second sequel to George Lucas' paradigm-smashing space opera "Star Wars" (1977). Obscured under heavy makeup for his time onscreen, McDiarmid could not have anticipated how much of a bite the role would take out of his professional life. Immortalized in Lucasfilm merchandising for 15 years as he returned to a purposeful career as an actor, director and theatrical impresario, McDiarmid was recalled to the franchise for "The Phantom Menace" (1999), a prequel to "Star Wars" that required the veteran actor to reinterpret the same character fifty years younger. He would play the vampiric Palpatine twice more, in "Attack of the Clones" (2002) and "Revenge of the Sith" (2005), but the stage would remain McDiarmid's true home. In 2008, the 61-year-old actor suffered a heart attack while performing at London's Gielgud Theater, but staved off an EMS crew until after he had taken his curtain call. Seen later as the star of the U.K. miniseries "City of Vice" (2008) and as controversial British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's doting husband in "Margaret" (2009), McDiarmid remained what he had long been to the theatregoers of London's West End: a consummate and highly valued character actor.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones (2002) Darth Sidious; Supreme Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious
3.
 Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) Senator Palpatine
4.
 Sleepy Hollow (1999) Doctor Lancaster
5.
 RASPUTIN (1996)
6.
 Annie: A Royal Adventure (1995) Professor Eli Eon
7.
 Restoration (1995) Ambrose
8.
 Heart Of Darkness (1994) Doctor
9.
 Chernobyl: The Final Warning (1991) Dr Vatisenko
10.
 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) Arthur
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Grew up in Dundee, Fife, Scotland
:
Spent close to a decade working on stage, apppearing with the Citizens' Theatre in Glasgow, in repertory in Manchester
1973:
London stage debut in "And They Put Handcuffs on the Flowers"
1974:
Joined the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)
1976:
Portrayed a vicar in "The Likely Lads"
1979:
Guest starred in an episode of "The Professionals"
1980:
Was featured in Mike Newell's "The Awakening"
1983:
Starred as evil Emperor Palpatine in "Return of the Jedi"
1986:
With Jonathan Kent, co-founded the Almeida Theatre Company
1988:
Had a featured role in the Frank Oz comedy "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels"
1995:
Featured in the period romance "Restoration"
1999:
Reprised role in the "Star Wars" saga, portraying Senator Palpatine in "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace"
2000:
Starred in Almeida staging of "The Tempest"
2002:
Resigned as artistic director of the Almeida; Kent also tendered his resignation
2002:
Reprised role in "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones"
2005:
Reprised role in the "Star Wars" saga, portraying Senator Palpatine in "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith"
2006:
Cast on Broadway in the production of "Faith Healer"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama: - 1968

Notes

McDiarmid on being cast in the "Star Wars" films: "I think they only cast me because of my long pointed nose. I have played a lot of grotesques because I suppose I look like one." --quoted in DAILY RECORD (SCOTLAND), January 30, 1998

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