Alan Napier was born of prestigious stock. He was the cousin of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and a direct descendant of Charles Dickens.
His acting career began in the 1930's but it wasn't till the 1940's that he started to make a name for himself. This was in part by his move from England to Hollywood, California. There he starred in various movies like Marnie, Julius Caesar, The Sword in The Stone, My Fair Lady and Joan of Arc.
Though his acting career spanned six decades, his most visible part to American audiences was that of Alfred Pennyworth, Batman's butler in the 1960s television series. Napier was reluctant to take the part at first until a friend told him he would become the most famous butler in the world. Alan had never even heard of Batman before his audition.
In honor of Napier, Tim Burton named the Joker's alter ego Jack Napier, in the feature film Batman (1989).