'Seinfeld' Actor Ian Abercrombie Dies

The British character actor, best known for playing Elaine's persnickety boss Mr. Pitt, passed away on Jan. 26 at the age of 77

Ian Abercrombie played a boss who was endlessly frustrating to work for -- but a lot of fun to watch. Abercrombie, a British character actor best known for portraying Elaine's boss Mr. Pitt on Seinfeld, passed away on Thursday at age 77 from complications stemming from kidney failure, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Although Mr. Pitt appeared in only seven episodes of the long-running series in 1994-95, his character -- a fussy British socialite who hires Elaine as his assistant -- quickly became a fan favorite. When he wasn't driving Julia Louis-Dreyfus' character crazy with his persnickety demands (see his sock requirements in the clip below), he was baffling the gang with his eccentric habits -- like eating a Snickers bar with a knife and fork. He eventually fired Elaine after becoming convinced that she and Jerry were conspiring to kill him.

"I was a pain in the neck. I was a hypochondriac. I was many things, and I just made her life so miserable," Abercrombie said of his character in a 1998 interview. "She wouldn't take the salt off my pretzels, you know. She brought me white socks… she did a lot of things for me, but she could never do it right."

Born in 1934 in Essex, England, Abercrombie began acting and dancing as a child during World War II, then moved to the United States at age 17 to pursue theater. In 1965, he began a long film and TV career. He played memorable quirky characters in cult favorite films like Army of Darkness and TV shows like Twin Peaks, but it was Seinfeld that really brought him to national attention.

"I have been around as an actor for 40-odd years, and this show knocked me out of the ballpark," he told CNN.

At the time of his death, Abercrombie had recurring roles on two children's series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Wizards of Waverly Place. He is survived by his three brothers: Donald, Douglas and Alex. You can watch some of his most memorable Seinfeld moments here.

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