Ackland passed on Sunday, November 19, with his representative, Paul Pearson, confirming the death. “Joss was a long-term client and great friend who remained lucid, erudite and mischievous to the very end. He died peacefully with his family this morning,” Pearson said in a statement.
Born on February 29, 1928, in London, England, Ackland trained at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama before making his professional stage debut at 17 years old, starring in the 1945 production of The Hasty Heart. He became a regular at the Old Vic Theatre, appearing alongside the likes of Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, and Tom Courtenay.
Ackland starred in several British television shows throughout the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, including opposite Alec Guinness in the 1979 adaptation of Tinker Sailor Soldier Spy. He also appeared in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Passion of Mind, Shadowlands, and Hogfather, based on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.
However, he is perhaps best known for playing Sir Jock Delves Broughton in the British drama film White Mischief and the villainous diplomat Arjen ‘Aryan’ Rudd in Richard Donner’s Lethal Weapon 2.
Ackland’s other film credits include The Hunt for Red October, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, The Mighty Ducks, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, and A Kid in King Arthur’s Court. His last credited on-screen role came in the 2014 British biographical historical drama film Katherine of Alexandria.
“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 family wrote in a statement.
Described by his family as a “beloved father,” Ackland was married to his wife Rosemary for 51 years before she passed away in 2002 following a battle with motor neuron disease. He is survived by seven children, 34 grandchildren, and 30 great-grandchildren.
Check out more tributes to Ackland below.
Joss Ackland was a huge talent.
What a life.
What a career.
Travel well Sir.
Thank you for the entertainment. pic.twitter.com/LwpvlrgBqq
— Mr Benn (@thebowlerhatman) November 20, 2023
Sad to hear about Joss Ackland. I’ve lost count of the sheer amount of things he’s been in that I’ve watched lately but he was always fab. And that pipe-smoker voice was a gift. pic.twitter.com/nkBsQ4MlSc
— Adam Scovell (@AdamScovell) November 20, 2023
Goodbye to the great Joss Ackland. A giant of a man both on and off stage – and what a voice.
(These are from a production of The Gin Game some years ago, which I did the pics for). #JossAckland pic.twitter.com/AmBE2R6LsY
— Lisa Bowerman (@TheLisaBowerman) November 20, 2023
RIP Joss Ackland. A mighty actor, and totem of that first wave of British Hollywood bastards. May flights of angels sing thee to thy diplomatic immunity. pic.twitter.com/sk2hfqe1kp
— rufus jones (@rufusjones1) November 19, 2023
RIP Joss Ackland. Great actor, lovely chap. His performance as Peron in Evita such an important contribution to the good fortune that show enjoyed. And he played so many other roles with distinction, humour & grace from late 1940s on. His name & talent will be long remembered.
— Tim Rice (@SirTimRice) November 20, 2023
RIP Joss Ackland: a man forever associated – in my mind at least – with the phrase… pic.twitter.com/GuwDvd7Jjk
— Tim Coleman (@fatscoleman) November 20, 2023
R.I.P. Joss Ackland, distinguished English actor who has appeared in over 100 movies, scores of plays and a plethora of television programs, 1928 – 2023. Seen here with Ron in Detective ‘Death in Ecstacy’, 1964 pic.twitter.com/4VBMrEOvtV
— Ronald Lacey Fans (@RonaldLaceyFans) November 20, 2023
We’re saddened to hear that stage and screen actor Joss Ackland has died aged 95. Joss was nominated for the Supporting Actor BAFTA at the Film Awards in 1989 for his work on White Mischief and for the Actor award at the 1990 Television Awards for his role in First and Last. pic.twitter.com/XJLFfCA76h
— BAFTA (@BAFTA) November 20, 2023
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