The British acting community mourns the loss of Joss Ackland, who passed away at 95 in his Devon home on November 22, 2023.
Ackland’s career, extending over seven decades, was characterized by his deep voice and his skill in portraying authoritative figures.
Ackland, born in London on February 29, 1928, grew up in a poor family. His father was an Irish journalist, and his mother was English. He found his calling in acting at a young age and fine-tuned his talents at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Ackland began his professional acting journey in 1945 and soon became a familiar face in the UK theater scene.
His extensive career includes over 130 credits in film, television, and radio. Ackland is particularly remembered for his roles in “Lethal Weapon 2” and “The Mighty Ducks,” and his performance in “White Mischief” earned him a BAFTA nomination.
Ackland’s deep love for the theater led him to many prominent stage roles, including Falstaff in Shakespeare’s plays and a part in the original “Evita” cast.
The 1980s marked a period of revitalization for Ackland, with roles in significant films such as “The Hunt for Red October” and “The Sicilian.” His artistic contributions also spanned music videos and audiobook narrations. Despite his prolific career, Ackland expressed some regrets over choosing smaller film roles, attributing these choices to his enduring passion for acting.
In “The Mighty Ducks,” Ackland’s portrayal of Hans was instrumental in reigniting the main character’s love for hockey. His roles often mirrored his ability to inspire and motivate.
Ackland’s acting career didn’t diminish with age; he continued to perform in his 90s, including in “Midsomer Murders” and “Kingdom,” and on stage as King Lear in 2013.
His personal life was marked by a long marriage to Rosemary Kirkcaldy, starting in 1951. The couple had seven children before her death in 2002. Ackland is survived by his five daughters, two sons, 32 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.