Ian McDiarmid



Place of birth:

Carnoustie, Tayside, Scotland:


Ian McDiarmid was born in Tayside, Scotland, in 1944. He studied for an M.A. in Clinical Psychology at The University of St Andrews, but eventually found that his calling was in theatre. He went to the Royal Academy in Glasgow, where he received the prestigious gold medal for his work. He now has a highly successful career as a theatre director, and from 1990 until his retirement in 2001 was Joint Artistic Director of London's Almeida Theatre in Islington. He and his co-director Jonathan Kent revived the Almeida and persuaded many Hollywood stars including Kevin Spacey, Ralph Fiennes and Anna Friel to tread the boards in their humble theatre. They won the coveted London Evening Standard Award in 1998 for their efforts. McDiarmid is also well known for his film and television appearances, and is perhaps most famous for his chilling performance as The Emperor in George Lucas's Star Wars films.


The Lost City of Z (2017)
Star Wars: Greatest Moments (2015)
as Himself
Star Wars: Evolution of the Lightsaber Duel (2015)
as Himself
37 Days (2014)
as Edward Grey
The Odds (2009)
Margaret (2009)
as Denis Thatcher
Our Hidden Lives (2005)
as B. Charles
Elizabeth I (2005)
as Lord Burghley
The Story of Star Wars (2005)
as Palpatine/The Emperor
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)
as Chancellor Palpatine / Darth Sidious
Star Wars: A Musical Journey (2005)
as Host
Charles II: The Power & the Passion (2003)
as Sir Edward Hyde
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)
as Chancellor Palpatine
Crime and Punishment (2002)
as Porfiry
The Beginning: Making 'Episode I' (2001)
as Himself
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
as Dr. Lancaster
All the King's Men (1999)
as Rev. Pierrepoint Edwards
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)
as Senator Palpatine
Great Expectations (1999)
as Jaggers
Hillsborough (1996)
Karaoke (1996)
Restoration (1995)
as Ambrose
Annie: A Royal Adventure (1995)
as Dr. Eli Eon
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
as Arthur
Gorky Park (1983)
as Professor Andreev
The Nation's Health (1983)
Return of the Jedi (1983)
as The Emperor
Dragonslayer (1981)
as Brother Jacopus
Richard's Things (1980)
Sir Henry at Rawlinson End (1980)
as Reg Smeeton
The Awakening (1980)
as Dr. Richter
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
as Emperor
Macbeth (1979)
as The Porter / Ross
The Likely Lads (1976)