Ian Abercrombie (11 September 1934 – 26 January 2012) was an English-American actor and comedian long based in the United States, best known for playing the eccentric Justin Pitt (Elaine Benes's boss) during the sixth season of Seinfeld. He also played Alfred Pennyworth on Birds of Prey, Rupert Cavanaugh (Ian Hainsworth's butler) in Desperate Housewives, Professor Crumbs in Wizards of Waverly Place, and Palpatine in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
|Born||11 September 1934|
Grays, Essex, England
|Died||26 January 2012 (aged 77)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
(m. 1956; div. 1978)
(m. 1984; died 2012)
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, Barnaby Jones 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 the Cartoon Network show just before his death.
Star Wars: The Clone WarsEdit
Abercrombie voiced Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious in the 2008 film The Clone Wars, the television continuation, 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 Abercrombie was very excited that Darth Sidious finally was going to be seen in person and not as a hologram anymore. During Celebration VI, Filoni mentioned that before his death, Abercrombie recorded for most of season five as the character, but did not finish, so actor Tim Curry was brought in to voice Palpatine. 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. This was his final released work, shown in 2014.
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.
|1965||Von Ryan's Express||English POW||Uncredited|
|1968||Star!||Man in Brixton Music Hall||Uncredited|
|1969||They Shoot Horses, Don't They?||Male Dancer #74||Uncredited|
|1970||The Molly Maguires||Stock Actor||Uncredited|
|1973||Wicked, Wicked||Eddie, Room Service Waiter||Uncredited|
|1974||Young Frankenstein||Second Villager||Uncredited|
|1974||The Island at the Top of the World||Train Conductor||Uncredited|
|1977–1983||Fantasy Island||McShane / Inspector Lestrade / Bartender||3 episodes|
|1978||Battlestar Galactica||Forger 7||Episode: "The Long Patrol"|
|1979||The Prisoner of Zenda||Johann|
|1980||The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood||Denis|
|1980||Blood Beach||Man in Mayor's Office|
|1981||Getting Even||Mr. Kenwood|
|1982||Marian Rose White||Lord Bates||TV movie|
|1982||Voyagers!||Bitiatus||Episode: "Created Equal"|
|1982||The Devlin Connection||Auctioneer||Episode: "The French Detective"|
|1983||Happy Days||Oscar||Episode: "Hello, Pfisters"|
|1983||Tucker's Witch||Doorman||Episode: "Dye Job"|
|1983||Journey's End||TV movie|
|1984||The Ice Pirates||Hymie|
|1986||Last Resort||Maître d'|
|1987||It's Garry Shandling's Show||Himself|
|1987||Frog||Dr. Fritsky||TV movie|
|1988||Hunter||George Cooper||Episode: "The Black Dahlia"|
|1989||21 Jump Street||Lemieux||Episode: "Old Haunts in the New Age"|
|1989||Alf||British Announcer||Episode: "Mind Games"|
|1990||Tales from the Crypt||Fulton||Episode: "The Switch"|
|1990||Repossessed||Iced Tea Waiter||Uncredited|
|1990||Twin Peaks||Tom Brockman||1 episode|
|1990||The Flash||Skip||Episode: "Ghost in the Machine"|
|1991||Puppet Master III||Dr. Hess|
|1992||The Public Eye||Mr. Brown|
|1992||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||4 episodes|
|1997||Over the Top||Nigel||Episode: "Acting Out"|
|1998||NewsRadio||Cadbury||Season 4 Episode 9 "The Secret of Management"|
|1998||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Old Man/German boss||Episode: "Homecoming"|
|1998||Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction||Emile||Season 2 Episode 7|
|1999||Wild Wild West||British Dignitary|
|1999-2000||Star Trek: Voyager||Abbot / Milo||Episodes: "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "Spirit Folk"|
|2000||Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman||Psychiatrist||Direct-to-video|
|2001||Blasphemy the Movie||Zues|
|2002||James Bond 007: Nightfire||Alexander Mayhew||Voice, Video game|
|2002-2003||Birds of Prey||Alfred Pennyworth||14 Episodes|
|2004||Charmed||Aramis (member of The Tribunal)||Season 6 Episode 19: "Crimes and Witch-Demeanors"|
|2004||RalliSport Challenge 2||Narrator||Video Game|
|2005||Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School||Evrin Sezgin|
|2005||The L.A. Riot Spectacular||Auctioneer|
|2005||Area 51||Dr. Winston Cray||Voice, Video Game|
|2005||The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy||F||Voice, Episode: "Scythe 2.0"|
|2005||Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None||Thomas Rogers / General Mackenzie||Voice, Video Game |
Based on the novel of the same name.
|2006||The Batman||Ewan||Voice, Episode: "The Icy Depths"|
|2006||Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties||Smithee|
|2006||Inland Empire||Henry the Butler|
|2007||Hard Four||Jack Ermine|
|2007–2012||Wizards of Waverly Place||Professor Crumbs||Unknown episodes|
|2008||How I Met Your Mother||Benjamin Franklin||Season 3, Episode 17: "The Goat"|
|2008||Star Wars: The Clone Wars||Chancellor Palpatine / Darth Sidious||Voice|
|2008||Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Lightsaber Duels||Darth Sidious||Voice, Video Game|
|2008||Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Republic Heroes||Chancellor Palpatine / Darth Sidious||Voice, Videogame|
|2008–2014||Star Wars: The Clone Wars||29 Episodes |
His death is honored at the beginning of the episode "The Lawless" – S5E16.
|2011||Childrens Hospital||Butler||Episode: "Run, Dr. Lola Spratt, Run"|
|2011||Happily Divorced||Victor||Episode: "Spousal Support"|
|2011-2013||Green Lantern: The Animated Series||Ganthet||Voice, 5 Episodes |
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. Archived from the original on 25 December 2010. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
- 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.
- "Ian Abercrombie - 12 Character Images".