Ian McDiarmid

Inside Biography


Ian McDiarmid is a Tony and Oliver award-winning director and character actor popular for his role Palpatine in the Star Wars film franchise. The Scottish actor has worked as a Joint Artistic Director of London's Almeida Theatre for over 20-year.

As a trained Shakespearean actor, McDiarmid was also featured in stage productions of Hamlet, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, and several other plays. He started his acting career since 1976 and has appeared in more than 47 movies to date. 

Early Life And Education            

Ian McDiarmid was born in Carnoustie, Tayside, Scotland, on August 11, 1944. He belongs to Scottish nationality and ethnicity wise; he is a Caucasian. McDiarmid started to watch plays along with his father when he was only 5-year-old. In 2004, he revealed his first experience of theatre, stating,

"It sort of fascinated me, and it also scared me. All those lights, all that make-up. I said to myself, 'I don't know what this is, but I want it.'"

McDiarmid grew up in his hometown Tayside and finished his schooling from there. He later joined the University of St. Andrews and graduated with a Master's degree in clinical psychology and the Royal Academy in Glasgow.

Ian McDiarmid interest in acting, later made him join acting training lessons at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, where he received the prestigious gold medal for his work.

Professional Career

McDiarmid worked as a Joint Artistic Director of London's Almeida Theatre in Islington from 1990 until his retirement in 2001. He made an appearance in a variety of Shakespeare plays like HamletThe TempestMuch Ado About Nothing, MacbethThe Merchant of Venice and King Lear as well. He also worked as Ivanov in the play of Tom Stoppard Every Good Boy Deserves Favour at the Mermaid Theatre in 1978.

Similarly, for his portrayal of Teddy in a revival of Brian Friel's Faith Healer, Ian McDiarmid received Almeida Theatre's Critic's Circle Award for Best Actor, in 2002. Later, in 2006 he reprised the role alongside Ralph Fiennes and Cherry Jones for which he won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play. 

Ian McDiarmid worked as the artistic director along with English theatre director and opera director Jonathan Kent. They worked together at the same position for more than a couple of decades and shared the Special Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Achievement of the Year. During his time at the Almeida, McDiarmid also directed several plays, including Venice Preserv'd in 1986 and Hippolytus in 1991.

Star Wars And Media Appearance

McDiarmid first made an appearance on the big screen featuring in a 1981 fantasy film Dragonslayer. After a couple of years, he made his breakthrough after playing the role Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi.

Ian McDiarmid came to limelight when he featured the character of Darth Sidious in the prequel films: The Phantom MenaceAttack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith. He also shared credit in The Phantom Menace alongside Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, and Jake Lloyd.

He also worked as the voice of Palpatine in the video game adaptations of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the JediSuper Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Ian McDiarmid has also appeared in several TV series. He worked as Satan in the 41-part BBC Four radio drama based on John Milton's Paradise Lost, in 2005. He featured in the audio podcast drama series Akiha Den Den in September 2016.  

Net Worth And Height

The successful Scottish actor and director Ian McDiarmid has an estimated net worth of $10 million, according to celebrity net worth, in 2018. 

Here is the list of his successful movie collection:

Year Movie Budget Box Office IMDb Rate
1983 Return of the Jedi $32.5–42.7 million $475.1–572.7 million 8.3
1983 Gorky Park $6.5 million $15,856,028  6.8
1988 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - $42,039,085 7.3
1999 The Phantom Menace $115 million  $1.027 billion 6.5
1999 Sleepy Hollow $100 million  $206 million  7.5
2002 Attack of the Clones $115 million  $649.4 million 6.6
1988 The Empire Strikes Back $18–33 million  $534.1–538.4 million  8.8
2005 Revenge of the Sith $113 million $848.8 million  7.6

McDiarmid stands at the height of 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m). 

Personal Life

The former London's Almeida Theatre director, Ian McDiarmid has managed to maintain low-key personal life all these years. He is not exactly very expressive on social media. Thus, there are a lot of unanswered question about his personal life especially about his married life, wife, and children. 

Here is a video of McDiarmid taking about his role in Star Wars, 

by sujeena, 20 Feb, 2018

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