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IAN McDIARMID (Palpatine) has a very successful career as an actor and director. He was Joint Artistic Director of the internationally acclaimed Almeida Theatre in North London from 1990 to 2002. 

McDiarmid first worked with George Lucas playing the Emperor in Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, a role he reprised in Episode I The Phantom Menace, Episode II Attack of the Clones and now in Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Additional film credits include Dragonslayer, Gorky Park, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, directed by Frank Oz; Restoration, Annie: A Royal Adventure and Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow. 

His many television credits include Hillsborough, A Few Select Exits, Great Expectations, All The King's Men, Crime and Punishment and Charles II: The Power and the Passion.

McDiarmid was an Associate Director at The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, where he played the title role in Edward II, Philip II in Don Carlos and directed Moliere's Don Juan. He was Bradley Pearson in Iris Murdoch's The Black Prince at the Aldwych Theatre, and has played leading roles at the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Royal National Theatre and The Royal Court, where he won the Society of West End Theatre's Best Actor Award for his performance as Einstein in Insignificance.

For the Almeida, McDiarmid directed Scenes From An Execution, The Rehearsal (also West End), Lulu, A Hard Heart, Venice Preserv'd and the opera Siren Song. His Almeida acting work includes the title role in Volpone, Goya in the opera Terrible Mouth, Amolphe in The School for Wives, Orgon in Tartuffe, Count Cenci in The Cenci, Colenso Ridgeon in The Doctor's Dilemma, Barabas in Marlowe's The Jew of Malta, Prospero in The Tempest and Teddy in Brian Friel's Faith Healer, for which he won The Critics' Circle Best Actor Award, 2002.

Most recently he played the title role of Henry IV in a new version of Pirandello's play by Tom Stoppard, at London's Donmar Warehouse, winning two Best Actor awards. His latest stage appearance was the title role in the acclaimed revival of Edward Bond's Lear.


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