British actor Joss Ackland, who excelled mainly in the role of movie villains in his varied eight-decade career, died on Sunday, his family said. He was 95 years old. A statement on his death said the actor, known for his voice and commanding presence, died peacefully at home, surrounded by his relatives.
“He will be remembered as one of Britain’s most talented and beloved actors,” they wrote, according to the French news agency AF.
Ackland’s most famous big screen villain role was as a corrupt South African diplomat in Lethal Weapon.
Ackland’s most famous big screen villain role was as a corrupt South African diplomat in Lethal Weapon. Among others, he portrayed a vengeful mafia don in The Sicilian and a beleaguered English aristocrat accused of murder in Kenya in White Mischief. He also starred in the film The Hunt for Red October, in which he portrayed the Soviet ambassador. He also appeared as a murderous hitchhiker in the surreal music video for the synth-pop version of Pet Shop Boys’ You Were Always On My Mind.
He returned to the UK in 1957
Ackland has attributed his success in television, film, stage plays and even musicals to his initial acting struggles. It was because of the difficulties in the first decade of his career, which began in the mid-1940s, that he and his wife, the actress Rosemary, moved to a tea plantation in Malawi, then in South Africa.
He experienced many trials in his personal life. The photo is from 1991, when he starred in the film A Murder of Quality or Der Mörder mit den Silberflügeln.
He returned to the UK in 1957 with a renewed determination to make it as an actor. He joined London’s Old Vic alongside actors such as Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Tom Courtenay.
He experienced many trials in his life
Ackland was born in the western London suburb of North Kensington on February 29, 1928. He experienced many trials in his personal life. Son Paul died of a heroin overdose at the age of 29, fire destroyed their family home and his wife Rosemary was seriously injured when she jumped out of a window during the fire. Seven children were born to them in a marriage that lasted 51 years. In her old age, Rosemary developed motor neurone disease and died in 2002.
The actor retired in 2014 and prefers to spend time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
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