11 September 1934|
Grays, Essex, England, UK
|Died||26 January 2012
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Kidney failure|
|Occupation||Actor, voice actor|
|Spouse(s)||Elizabeth Romano (1956-1978) (divorced)
Gladys Abercrombie (1984-2012) (his death)
He played Alfred Pennyworth on Birds of Prey, Justin Pitt (Elaine Benes's boss) during the sixth season of Seinfeld, Rupert Cavanaugh (Ian Hainsworth's butler) on Desperate Housewives, Professor Crumbs on Wizards of Waverly Place, and Palpatine on Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
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 at 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 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 [clarification needed] 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 on 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 Oscar-nominated Rango (2011). He also portrayed Ganthet on 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 adaptation, 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 death, Ian did record for most of Season Five as both characters, but did not finish, so actor Tim Curry was brought in to voice Palpatine. However, Abercrombie also voiced the character in the Clovis story arc of the Lost Missions (Season Six) since it was originally a part of the Season Four, and later the Season Five, line-up. Thus, it was finished before his death. This was his final released work both on the series and in his life, shown in 2014. He was honored with a message of "In memory of Ian Abercrombie" at the beginning of Season 5, Episode 16 "The Lawless".
Abercrombie died in Los Angeles, California on 26 January 2012, twenty days after the Wizards of Waverly Place finale, from kidney failure. He was 77.
Star Wars Celebration VI included the panel "Vocal Stars of The Clone Wars", hosted by James Arnold Taylor and featuring cast members Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein, Dee Bradley Baker and Tom Kane. The cast dedicated the panel to Abercrombie. Additionally, The Clone Wars episode "The Lawless" includes a dedication to Abercrombie in the opening titles.
|1974||Young Frankenstein||Second Villager||uncredited|
|1977-1983||Fantasy Island||McShane/Inspector Lestrade/Bartender|
|1978||Battlestar Galactica||Forger 7|
|1979||The Prisoner of Zenda||Johann|
|1984||The Ice Pirates||Hymie|
|1986||Last Resort||Maître d'|
|1990||Tales from the Crypt||Fulton||Episode: "The Switch"|
|1990||The Flash||Ghost Henchman||Episode: "Ghost in the Machine"|
|1991||Puppet Master III||Dr. Hess|
|1992||Twin Peaks||Tom Brockman|
|1992||The Public Eye||Mr. Brown|
|1993||Army of Darkness||Wiseman|
|1993||Addams Family Values||Driver|
|1994||Babylon 5||Correlilmurzon||Episode: "Acts of Sacrifice"|
|1994–1998||Seinfeld||Justin Pitt||7 episodes|
|1997||The Lost World: Jurassic Park||Butler|
|1997-2002||Days of Our Lives||Hotel Manager/Jeweller/Mr. Simkins/Lawyer|
|1998||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Old Man/German boss||Episode: "Homecoming"|
|1999||Star Trek: Voyager||Abbot||Episode: Someone to Watch Over Me|
|2000||Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman||Psychiatrist|
|2002||Birds of Prey||Alfred Pennyworth|
|2004||Charmed||Aramis (member of The Tribunal)||Season 6 Episode 19: "Crimes and Witch-Demeanors"|
|2005||Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School||Evrin Sezgin|
|2006||Inland Empire||Henry the Butler|
|2006||Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties||Smithee|
|2007-2012||Wizards of Waverly Place||Professor Crumbs|
|2008||How I Met Your Mother||Benjamin Franklin||Season 3 Episode 17: "The Goat"|
|2008||Star Wars: The Clone Wars (film)||Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious|
|2008-2014||Star Wars: The Clone Wars||Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious||His death is honored at the beginning of the episode "The Lawless" - S5E16.|
|2012||Green Lantern: The Animated Series||Ganthet||His death is honored at the end of the episode "Regime Change" - S1E10.|
- "U.S., Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1895-1956". Ancestry.com.
- "Ian Abercrombie". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
- Barnes, Mike (27 January 2012). "Ian Abercrombie, Elaine's Boss on 'Seinfeld', Dies at 77". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- Minovitz, Ethan (28 January 2012). "Ian Abercrombie, 77, was boss Mr. Pitt on Seinfeld". Big Cartoon News. Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- Krome Studios (6 October 2009). Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Republic Heroes. LucasArts. Scene: Closing credits, 2:30 in, Voice Talent.