Ian Abercrombie

Ian Abercrombie, the British stage actor best known as Elaine's boss Mr. Pitt on Seinfeld, has died. He was 77.

Abercrombie died Thursday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from complications of kidney failure, according to the Los Angeles Times. He had recently been diagnosed with lymphoma.

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Born in England, Abercrombie started out as a stage dancer and made his American stage debut in 1955 in a production of Stalag 17 with Jason Robards. After serving in the Army as part of Special Services in Germany, he returned to acting, appearing in numerous plays, TV shows and films before a seven-episode arc on Seinfeld changed his life.

"Incredibly so," he told CNN in 1998. "I mean, I have been around as an actor for 40-odd years, and this show knocked me out of the ballpark."

Abercrombie played Justin Pitt, Elaine's eccentric, picky boss who fired her after he became convinced that she had tried 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 Mr. Pitt. "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."

Abercrombie also appeared on the TV series Birds of Prey, Get Smart, L.A. Law, Dynasty, Northern Exposure, NewsRadio, Murphy Brown, Desperate Housewives and How I Met Your Mother. Most recently, he recurred on Wizards of Waverly Place as Professor Crumb.

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His film credits include They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, Young Frankenstein, Army of Darkness, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Rango.

Abercrombie was a founding member and former board member of BAFTA-LA and was a board member of the Actor's Fund of America.

He is survived by his brothers Douglas, Donald and Alex.

Watch Abercrombie on Seinfeld: