Ian has appeared in five out of the six Star Wars movies.
Ian reprised his role in The Faith Healer in his debut on Broadway. Directed by his friend Jonathan Kent, he performed alongside Ralph Fiennes and Cherry Jones, and won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play.
Ian was only 37 when he first played the role of Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars, a character aged over 70 years old.
In 2001, Ian won the Almedia Theatre's Critics Circle Award for Best Actor for his role as Teddy in a revival of Brian Friel's The Faith Healer.
Ian claims his love of the theatre began when he was only five years old, on the day his father took him to see an act by the name of Tommy Morgan in a theatre located in Dundee.
From 1990 until 2001, Ian served with Jonathan Kent as artistic director of the now prestigious Almeida Theatre.
He was educated at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow, Scotland, 1968.
McDiarmid co-founded the Almedia Theatre company in 1986.
Ian made his London stage debut in 1973.
Along with being an actor, Ian McDiarmid is also credited as a director and artistic director.
Apart from Star Wars, Ian Mcdiarmid has also appeared on the big screen in Gorky Park (1983), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), directed by fellow "Star Wars" veteran Frank Oz, and Restoration (1995).
Is the first actor in the Star Wars films to play a sith lord and provide the voice.
He played an elderly Emperor in 1983, then had to play a younger version of himself about 20 years later.
Height: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
2. Appeared in all six Star Wars films except for Episode 4 A New Hope.
1. Most famous for his performance as the Emperor/Palpatine in the Star Wars movies.
Ian McDiarmid: Yes I was, and again, I didn't know how evil he was going to be - I knew he was going to be pretty evil - until I got the script.
Ian McDiarmid: When George asked me to be the prequels, it was the same kind of meeting - it was very short and to the point. It was nice to see him after a long time, and we met in a hotel room.
Ian McDiarmid: To start your life as a character of 120 years when you are in your late thirties, and then go back in time about 20 years later to play the same character who is your own age then, its very complicated, but very interesting.
Ian McDiarmid: There were a number of people who helped me get there, and the one I always mention is Michael Byrne, the great master swordsman and brilliant stunt double.
Ian McDiarmid: The part that I think is one of the most interesting is of course the one that Hayden Christensen plays.
Ian McDiarmid: The last time I saw a Stormtrooper, he was having a glass of wine and a cigarette.
Ian McDiarmid: That's the mark of a great storyteller, never to give away secrets in advance.
Ian McDiarmid: It was a scene I was really looking forward to, and one that I embraced, and when we were filming it, George got closer and closer and closer with that camera - he was practically up my nose for the final shot. So I knew it was a moment that I had to do my best to get right.
Ian McDiarmid: In this film he's worse than the Devil and certainly worse than Darth Vader, whom I think comes across as more sympathetic than people might imagine.
Ian McDiarmid: If you got the DVD you can see that George Lucas has taken that person out, as well as the voice, and we shot this scene when we arrived in Australia during the actual filming of Episode 3.
Ian McDiarmid: I'm the blackest villain of all time.
Ian McDiarmid: I suppose it's easy to play a hypocritical politician with a smiling face; it's also quite gratifying to play.
Ian McDiarmid: I don't feel I'm reduced, really. I feel it's just another part and in the theatre I do lots of different things, you know.
Ian McDiarmid: George Lucas has always made small independent movies... With ambition, you know. He packs all new and exciting into it.
Ian McDiarmid: For me it's even more interesting, because my character comes out of the shadow. It's a chance to really act emotionally, because the situation is an extreme one.
Ian McDiarmid: Consistency is very important when you're making films.
Ian McDiarmid: But Palpatine, of course, is a performance. It's a mask. Although it's my face in front of this terrible monster that is revealed in his horrible glory, as he would see it, in this movie. So I mean, how exciting can it get for an actor?
Ian McDiarmid: But in both cases, the people who were putting my face on were extremely charming and very entertaining. So it's never been a painful experience.
Ian McDiarmid: But he did say that the character would be on the sidelines in movies One and Two, and move into the middle with number Three, but I didn't realize he would move in with quite such a bang.
Ian McDiarmid: But George was very interesting when we started The Phantom Menace: he told me I should think of my eyes as Palpatine's contact lenses, which was a great thing to say to an actor.
Ian McDiarmid: But even more interesting is the fact that the character is actually two people: Chancellor Palpatine and Darth Sidious.
Ian McDiarmid: And also, it's sort of my job to make you believe things about him that aren't true about me.