Ian Abercrombie, the veteran British actor who for a period was among the cast of much-loved American comedy 'Seinfeld,' has sadly died aged 77 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times reports that Abercrombie had recently been diagnosed with lymphoma, a cancer similar to the ailment that recently hastened the demise of the legendary singer Etta James, and it was also reported that he'd been suffering from complications with kidney failure.

Born in Essex, England, Abercrombie moved to the US in 1951 having started a career in theatre during World War II. Though starting young in stage it wasn't until 1977, aged 40, that he was first found as credited on the big screen for a role in the film 'The Prisoner of Zenda' - though he was uncredited in 1974's 'Young Frankenstein.' Over a decade on, however, it took just seven episodes of the hit US comedy 'Seinfeld' to turn an actor seemingly in the twilight of his career around; playing the boss of Julia Louis-Dreyfus' character Elaine Benes opened Abercrombie up to a whole new audience. In an interview back in 1998 he said "I have been around as an actor for 40-odd years, and this show knocked me out of the ballpark," admitting that 'Seinfeld' had changed his life.

Following the turn of the 90s comedy, he found himself in several more high profile roles including 'Addams Family' sequel 'Family Values' and 'The Lost World: Jurassic Park,' as well as enjoying five years on the US soap 'Days Of Our Lives.' His last movie performance was a voice-over role on the computer-animated film 'Rango' last year.