Ian McDiarmid

Actor, Director, Artistic director
Despite a rsum 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 ... Read more »
Born: 08/11/1944 in United Kingdom

Filmography

Actor (25)

Elizabeth I 2005 - 2006 (TV Show)

Actor

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith 2005 (Movie)

Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Actor)

Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones 2002 (Movie)

Darth Sidious (Actor)

All the King's Men 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Sleepy Hollow 1999 (Movie)

Doctor Lancaster (Actor)

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace 1999 (Movie)

Senator Palpatine (Actor)

Touching Evil 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Cold Lazarus 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Restoration 1995 (Movie)

Ambrose (Actor)

Masonic Mysteries 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Chernobyl: The Final Warning 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels 1988 (Movie)

Arthur (Actor)

Gorky Park 1983 (Movie)

Professor Andreev (Actor)

Return of the Jedi 1983 (Movie)

Emperor Palpatine (Actor)

Dragonslayer 1980 (Movie)

Brother Jacopus (Actor)

Sir Henry at Rawlinson End 1979 (Movie)

Reg Smeeton (Actor)

The Awakening 1979 (Movie)

Dr Richter (Actor)

The Likely Lads 1975 (Movie)

Vicar (Actor)

Annie: A Royal Adventure (TV Show)

Actor

Great Expectations (TV Show)

Actor

Heart of Darkness (TV Show)

Actor

Karaoke (TV Show)

Actor

Sacrifice (TV Show)

Actor

Selected Exits (TV Show)

Actor

The Last King (TV Show)

Actor

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 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.

EDUCATION

Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama

1968
was awarded the school's gold medal

Milestones

2006

Cast on Broadway in the production of "Faith Healer"

2005

Reprised role in the "Star Wars" saga, portraying Senator Palpatine in "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith"

2002

Reprised role in "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones"

2002

Resigned as artistic director of the Almeida; Kent also tendered his resignation

2000

Starred in Almeida staging of "The Tempest"

1999

Reprised role in the "Star Wars" saga, portraying Senator Palpatine in "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace"

1995

Featured in the period romance "Restoration"

1988

Had a featured role in the Frank Oz comedy "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels"

1986

With Jonathan Kent, co-founded the Almeida Theatre Company

1983

Starred as evil Emperor Palpatine in "Return of the Jedi"

1980

Was featured in Mike Newell's "The Awakening"

1979

Guest starred in an episode of "The Professionals"

1976

Portrayed a vicar in "The Likely Lads"

1974

Joined the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)

1973

London stage debut in "And They Put Handcuffs on the Flowers"

Spent close to a decade working on stage, apppearing with the Citizens' Theatre in Glasgow, in repertory in Manchester

Grew up in Dundee, Fife, Scotland

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