Ian McDiarmid is an Olivier and Tony award-winning Scottish character actor and director. Internationally, he is most famous for his role as Emperor Palpatine and (spoilers!) Darth Sidious in Star Wars; Return of the Jedi, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith, as well appearing in the Star Wars expanded universe in multiple video games and Star Wars: Rebels the TV Show.
McDiarmid studied for a Master’s degree 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 was Joint Artistic Director of London’s Almeida Theatre in Islington.
Most recently he appeared as King Pellenor in the TV series Britannia for Amazon Prime. He also starred in Utopia, MI-5, 37 Days, City of Vice, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, and Elizabeth I TV series and Mini-TV series. He was also in The Lost City of Z with Tom Holland, Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow with Johnny Depp, Dirty Rotton Scoundrels with Michael Caine, as well as Dragonslayer, Great Expectations, Margaret, and Restoration with Robert Downey Jr.