Ian Abercrombie, 77, was boss Mr. Pitt on Seinfeld

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Ian Abercrombie

Ian Aber­crom­bie

British-born char­ac­ter actor Ian Aber­crom­bie, known for por­tray­ing Elaine Benes’ fussy boss Justin Pitt on Sein­feld, died Thurs­day in Hol­ly­wood. He was 77.

In seven episodes of the series, he played the boss who wore white knee socks and ate candy bars with a knife and fork. He fired Elaine after becom­ing con­vinced that she — with Jerry as an accom­plice — had tried to mur­der him with drugs.

Aber­crom­bie voiced Ambrose in last year’s Oscar-nominated Rango. He also por­trayed Gan­thet in Green Lantern: The Ani­mated Series, com­plet­ing his work on the lat­est episode of the Car­toon Net­work show just before his death.

He had a recur­ring role as Palpatine/Darth Sid­i­ous on George Lucas’ ani­mated series The Clone Wars, also voic­ing a pirate on the episode “Night­sis­ters.” He was Pal­pa­tine in the 2008 movie Star Wars: The Clone Warsas well.

In The Bat­man, he guested as Ewen in the episodes “Grundy’s Night” (2005) and “The Icy Depths” (2006). He was F in “Scythe 2.0,” a 2005 episode of Grim & Evil.

In live action, Aber­crom­bie por­trayed Smithee in the partly ani­mated 2006 movie Garfield: A Tail Of Two Kit­ties.

Born in Grays, Essex on Sep­tem­ber 11, 1934, Aber­crom­bie had a career span­ning over 50 years. He per­formed on stages in Lon­don, Hol­land, Ire­land and Scot­land before com­ing to the United States in 1951 at 17.

Debut­ing on film in Von Ryan’s Express (1965), he also appeared in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969), The Molly Maguires (1970), Young Franken­stein (1974), Pup­pet Mas­ter III (1991), The Lost World: Juras­sic Park (1997) and Mar­i­lyn Hotchkiss’ Ball­room Danc­ing and Charm School (2005).

Aber­crom­bie played the Wise Man in Sam Raimi’s 1972 comedy-horror flick Army of Dark­ness (1972). He was 800-year-old wiz­ard Pro­fes­sor Crumbs on the live-action Dis­ney Chan­nel hit Wiz­ards of Waverly Place.

He was a reg­u­lar on the WB Network’s Birds of Prey. Aber­crom­bie appeared on dozens of other shows as well, includ­ing Get Smart, Hunter, L.A. Law, Dynasty, North­ern Expo­sure, News­Ra­dio, Mur­phy Brown and Des­per­ate House­wives.

Mak­ing his Amer­i­can stage debut in a 1955 pro­duc­tion of Sta­lag 17 oppo­site Jason Robards, he was seen in the the­atri­cal pro­duc­tions Mary Stu­art (with Mar­sha Mason), The Cru­cifer of Blood (with Charl­ton Hes­ton as Sher­lock Holmes), The Vor­tex (with Rupert Everett) and The Arcata Promise (with Anthony Hopkins).

A found­ing mem­ber and for­mer board mem­ber of BAFTA-LA, he was also a board mem­ber of the Actors Fund of America.

Ian Aber­crom­bie is sur­vived by broth­ers Dou­glas, Don­ald and Alex.

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