Joss Ackland, a longtime stage and screen actor best known for his roles in “Lethal Weapon 2” and “White Mischief,” has died at age 95.
Ackland, who amassed more than 130 credits, also enjoyed parts in films such as “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey,” “The Hunt for Red October” and the TV movie “Shadowlands.” His death was confirmed in a statement by his family. They said, “With his distinctive voice and commanding presence, Ackland brought a unique intensity and gravitas to his roles.”
“He will be remembered as one of Britain’s most talented and beloved actors.”
Ackland’s manager Paul Pearson told TheWrap, “It is with great sadness that I can confirm the passing of my great friend and long-term client Joss Ackland. He died of old age this morning with his family around. He was lucid, erudite, and mischievous to the end.”
“I loved him deeply and for me, he is the reason we have the word magnificent in the dictionary,” Pearson added.
The actor also starred in a number of stage productions with costars including Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Judi Dench and Tom Courtenay.
Ackland was born in London, England, on Feb. 29, 1928. His father, Major Sydney Norman Ackland, was an Irish journalist. The actor studied at the city’s Central School of Speech and Drama and made his stage debut at the age of 17 in a production of “The Hasty Heart.”
He took on his first film role in 1950 when he starred in “Seven Days to Noon.” Ackland continued to act throughout the decade before moving to Malawi with his wife, Rosemary, where the two worked on a tea plantation.
Their return to England was fruitful for the star’s stage career. He also picked up a role in the “The Avengers,” the popular 1960s spy show.
In 2001, Ackland admitted to The Guardian that not every acting decision he made was the best one. He said, “I do an awful lot of crap, but if it’s not immoral, I don’t mind. I’m a workaholic. Sometimes it’s a form of masochism.”
“I was in ‘Mad Dogs And Englishmen,’ a Liz Hurley thing, which was God-awful and quite rightly torn to shreds,” Ackland continued. “Then there was ‘Passion Of Mind’ last year with Demi Moore. Terrible script. Awful, actually, but I needed the money. She’s all right, not very bright or talented.”
He also told Strand Magazine that despite his onstage prowess, he really enjoyed working on movies the most. As Ackland said, “I think really I came into the business because I was mad about movies. It just took me an immensely long time to get into them. I’m contrary to most people.”
“Most actors prefer to work on the stage,” he went on. “I enjoy rehearsing, I enjoy the theater, but I do have a very low threshold of boredom. So after a while, doing the same thing every night for probably up to a year can be murder.”
He married his wife in 1951 and the pair went on to have seven children, 34 grandchildren and 30 great grandchildren.