Ian McDiarmid

Ian McDiarmid

Highest Rated: 88% Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

Lowest Rated: 0% The Awakening (1980)

Birthday: Aug 11, 1944

Birthplace: Carnoustie, Scotland, UK

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.

Highest rated movies




51% 86% Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Palpatine (Character) $515.2M 2019
87% 57% The Lost City of Z Sir George Goldie (Character) $8.6M 2016
No Score Yet 38% Margaret Denis Thatcher (Character) - 2009
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Odds Unknown (Character) - 2009
No Score Yet 56% City of Vice Unknown (Character) - 2008
80% 66% Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith Supreme Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious (Character) $380.3M 2005
No Score Yet 87% The Last King Sir Edward Hyde (Character) - 2004
65% 56% Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Character) $310.7M 2002
No Score Yet 72% Great Expectations Jaggers (Character) - 1999
No Score Yet 65% All the King's Men Rev. Pierrepoint Edwards (Character) - 1999
52% 59% Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace Senator Palpatine/Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Character) $474.5M 1999
69% 80% Sleepy Hollow Dr. Thomas Lancaster (Character) $101.1M 1999
No Score Yet 82% Inquest Doctor Popper (Character) - 1996
No Score Yet 79% Rasputin Unknown (Character) - 1996
No Score Yet 53% Annie: A Royal Adventure Dr. Eli Eon (Character) - 1995
40% 37% Heart of Darkness Doctor (Character) - 1994
No Score Yet No Score Yet Chernobyl: The Final Warning Dr. Vatisenko (Character) - 1991
88% 84% Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Arthur (Character) $40.9M 1988
82% 94% Return of the Jedi The Emperor (Character) $309.3M 1983
77% 60% Gorky Park Prof. Andreev (Character) - 1983
84% 63% Dragonslayer Brother Jacobus (Character) - 1981
0% 22% The Awakening Dr. Richter (Character) - 1980
20% No Score Yet Richard's Things Burglar (Character) - 1980


No Score Yet No Score Yet Britannia King Pellenor (Character) 2020
88% 76% Britannia King Pellenor (Character) 2019
98% 82% Star Wars Rebels Emperor Palpatine (Guest Voice) 2018
No Score Yet No Score Yet Elizabeth I Lord Burghley (Character) 2006
No Score Yet No Score Yet Spooks Unknown (Guest Star) 2004
No Score Yet No Score Yet Touching Evil Unknown (Character) 1997-1999
No Score Yet No Score Yet Mystery! Unknown (Character) 1998
No Score Yet No Score Yet Rebecca Coroner (Character) 1997
77% 81% The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles Unknown (Guest Star) 1993
No Score Yet No Score Yet Inspector Morse Unknown (Guest Star) 1990
No Score Yet No Score Yet FREE EPIX: Britannia King Pellenor (Character)


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