Joss Ackland, the British actor known for Lethal Weapon 2, Mighty Ducks and White Mischief, has died. He was 95.
Ackland died peacefully of old age, surrounded by his family Sunday morning, his longtime rep and friend Paul Pearson told The Hollywood Reporter. “He was lucid, erudite and mischievous to the end,” the rep added. “I loved him deeply, and, for me, he is the reason we have the word Magnificent in the dictionary.”
The actor was described as a “beloved father,” in a family statement obtained by BBC. It read, “With his distinctive voice and commanding presence, Ackland brought a unique intensity and gravitas to his role. He will be remembered as one of Britain’s most talented and beloved actors.”
In addition to his film roles in Lethal Weapon 2, Mighty Ducks and White Mischief, Ackland was known for parts in The Hunt for Red October, Daisies in December and Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. He starred alongside stars like Sean Connery, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Emilio Estevez. He also appeared in TV shows like Shadowlands, where he portrayed C.S. Lewis, and Midsomer Murders.
Born on Feb. 29, 1928, Sidney Edmond Jocelyn Ackland was the son of Sydney Norman Ackland, an Irish journalist, and Ruth Ackland, a maid. He studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama before joining the Old Vic. Ackland made his stage debut at 17 years old in The Hasty Hart.
The actor made his first credited debut in a supporting role in Vernon Sewell’s 1952 film, Ghost Ship, but after that, it took almost a decade for him to return the big screen. He spent the time in between honing his craft in local theatrical companies, taking on roles like Captian Hook in the musical version of Peter Pan in London’s West End and Juan Peron in Evita.
Before his film career really began taking off in the 1970s and ’80s, he also had memorable turns as Falstaff in William Shakespeare’s Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 and as Captain Shotover in George Bernard Shaw’s Heartbreak House.
He married fellow actor Rosemary Kirkcaldy in August 1951. She died in July 2002. The couple had seven children, one of whom died of a heroin overdose in 1982 when he was 29. Ackland’s survivors include his six other children, 32 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.