A veteran English thespian whose show business career dates back to the 1940s, Ian Abercrombie got his start dancing on stage during World War II, leaving home at age 17 for the United States. For four years, he performed around America before being drafted by the British Army in 1957. Afterwards, Abercrombie went to California and started his film and television career. In a theatrical career spanning over 40 years, his co-stars have included distinguished British actors like his longtime friend Anthony Hopkins, taking the solo spotlight for an acclaimed portrayal of French artist and director Jean Cocteau in a 1989 one-man show. On television, his first important recurring role came the 1980s as butler Phillip on the daytime soap opera "Santa Barbara." Also notable was his mid-'90s turn on "Seinfeld" as Justin Pitt, a wealthy and peculiar businessman who was main character Elaine's second boss. During the 2000s, Abercrombie continued to be a reliable character actor on television, once again playing a domestic servant as Batman's butler Alfred Pennyworth in the short-lived action series "Birds of Prey." He also started performing more voice parts, including diabolical Chancellor Palpatine in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" and Ambrose the owl in the animated animal Western "Rango."