ian mcdiarmid
Connections to the theater, films, and fans of actor, director, and producer Ian McDiarmid

Ian McDiarmid Trivia Quiz

Ian did all of his own stunts in "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith".


Ian, the Scottish version of John, is a male name of Hebrew/Gaelic origin, meaning "God is Gracious"

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Donmar heads west
It was back in January that I saw the Donmar Warehouse's astonishing production Be Near Me and three months on it still resonates, writes Lee Trewhela. Based on the Booker Prize nominated novel by Andrew Hagan, this story about love, morality and regret has been adapted for stage by actor Ian McDiarmid and is a co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland. It won terrific reviews when it premiered at the Palace Theatre, Kilmarnock and at London's Donmar. David Anderton, an Oxford-educated Catholic priest, is assigned to a parish in a dispirited Scottish town on the Ayrshire coast. Lonely and adrift he befriends two unstable teenagers from the local school and is drawn into their exotic world. As events spin out of control he is forced to face his greatest trial yet. Who knew such devastation could come from sharing a beer and a spliff... Ian McDiarmid himself gives a powerful performance as Anderton...

Perth play puts spotlight on priestís decline and fall - Novel brought to the stage by Scottish actor who appeared in Star Wars
It follows the tale of Father David Anderton, an Oxford-educated Catholic priest who is assigned to a parish in a Scottish town on the Ayrshire coast. A spokesman for the National Theatre of Scotland production at Perth Theatre said audiences would see how the naive and lonely priestís life spirals out of control when he befriends two unstable teenagers.

Be near me, Traverse Theatre
Parish priest Father David a lover of fine wine, literature and French cuisine finds himself transferred from his quiet parish in England to the run down scarred economic wasteland of Dalgarnock, an Ayshire town with no jobs, no hope and only sectarianism drugs and drink to provide escape and entertainment. Working in the local school, he befriends two teenagers becoming drawn towards their brutal vitality so at odds with his own dusty life, and the closer he gets to them the more he sows the seeds of his own eventual downfall. Ian McDiarmid, who also adapted the story, was on superb form as the innocent almost childlike figure of Father David, a man whose guileless joy in experiencing life proves his undoing. He gave a beautifully pitched performance balancing the characteristics of a man capable of both captivating and infuriating people in equal measure.

Your reviews: Be near me, Traverse Theatre
"Absolutely superb. The acting the staging and the music all worked beautifully. I particularly loved Ian McDiarmid's performance, it was witty and nuanced and despite the nature of his act you still couldn't help feeling a deep sense of pity for him. I'm ashamed to say I was only aware of Ian McDiarmid from the Star Wars movies and had no idea what a brilliant stage actor he was, he captivated me from the first moment he appeared."

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Scottish actor, director, and producer Ian McDiarmid is known to millions of Star Wars fans as the Master of the Dark Side of the Force: Emperor Palpatine. But he also happens to be one of London's most acclaimed and established theater figures. Once the co-artistic director of Islington's Almeida Theatre (where he helped turn an obscure fringe theatre into one of London's most respected), McDiarmid continues his success as an actor in movies, tv shows, and theater.

Born in Carnoustie, Scotland, on August 11, 1944, McDiarmid was raised in Dundee, Tayside. Despite being fascinated with theater since he was a child, Ian studied social sciences to please his father and eventually earned an MA at St. Andrews University. However, he later left his career as a clinical psychologist to pursue his dream as an actor. He studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and eventually joined the Royal Shakespeare Company. He appeared in several plays, tv shows and movies, to much acclaim, but intertnational fame came with his performance first as Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars Return of the Jedi and later as Senator Palpatine in the Star Wars prequels.

ian mcdiarmid picture

McDiarmid has since starred on Broadway in the play Faith Healer, in which he won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play (2006). His most recent work includes the award-winning tv series City of Vice (2008), the tv biopic Margaret (2009), and the London's West End play of Six Characters in Search of an Author (2008), in which McDiarmid insisted on completing his opening night debut, despite having suffered a suspected heart attack while on stage.

In early 2009, Ian returned home to Scotland for his own adaptation of the novel Be Near Me. This play about love, morality and regret was later staged in London, where it continued to receive rave reviews.

According to wikipedia, DreamWorks Animation has announced that McDiarmid will voice the elderly Ring-Tailed Lemur named Oogwar in the live-action/animated movie version of Tom and Jerry.

Be Near Me Preview

  • 1968 - Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama Gold Medal
  • 1982 - Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a New Play (Insignificance)
  • 1990 - Time Out Comedy Awards for Directing (Volpone)
  • 1998 - Special Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Achievement of the Year (along with Jonathan Kent)
  • 2001 - Critics' Circle Theatre Awards for Best Theatre Actor (Faith Healer)
  • 2002 - Clarence Derwent Award for Best Supporting Actor (Faith Healer)
  • 2004 - Manchester Evening News Award for Best Actor (Henry IV)
  • 2004 - Theatregoers' Choice Award for Best Actor (Henry IV)
  • 2005 - Theatregoers' Choice Award for Best Actor (King Lear)
  • 2006 - Theatre World Award for Outstanding Debut Performance (Faith Healer)
  • 2006 - Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play (Faith Healer)

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site last updated 2009/05/07