Ian Abercrombie

Ian Abercrombie

77 (passed away Jan. 26th, 2012)
Sep. 11th, 1934
Born in
London, England, UK

Ian Abercrombie's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
Birds of Prey TV Show
Birds of Prey
State of Grace TV Show
State of Grace
The Devlin Connection TV Show
The Devlin Connection
Chromiumblue.com TV Show
Over the Top TV Show
Over the Top
The Random Years TV Show
The Random Years
Foley Square TV Show
Foley Square
Hidden Howie: The Private Life of a Public Nuisance TV Show
Hidden Howie: The Private Life of a Public Nuisance
Joe Forrester TV Show
Joe Forrester

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


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 States aged 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 US Army and stationed in 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 Cocteau - 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 Networw show just before his death.

Ian portrayed Chancellor Palpatine / Darth Sidious in the 2008 film, the television adaption, and two spin-off 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 passing, Ian did record for most of Season 5 as both characters, but did not finish so actor Tim Curry was brought to finish.

Abercrombie died in Hollywood, California on 26 January 2012 at age 77, from kidney failure. During Celebration VI (23–26 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.

  • Shares two roles with 'Clive Revill' (qv). Revill was the voice of Alfred Pennyworth in early episodes of Batman (1992), a role Abercrombie played in Birds of Prey (2002)(TV). Revill was also the first actor to play Palpatine, in _Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)_ (qv). Abercrombie voiced the character in the animated Clone Wars series.
  • Cousin of John Abercrombie, Jazz Guitarist, ECM Recording Star.
  • Stepped in for an ailing 'Whoopi Goldberg' (qv) at the last minute as emcee/Host for the 2001 BAFTA/LA Britannia Awards honoring 'Steven Spielberg'. The award was presented by H.R.H. 'Prince Andrew' (qv), Duke of York.
  • Serves on the Board of Directors of BAFTA-LA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) and on the Western Board of The Actor's Fund of America.

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