Joss Ackland, the veteran British stage and screen actor who was known for starring in “White Mischief” and “Lethal Weapon 2,” died on Sunday. He was 95.
“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,” said his rep, Paul Pearson.
In Richard Donner’s “Lethal Weapon 2,” his villainous diplomat character notably utters the line “Diplomatic immunity!” before being shot by cop Roger Murtaugh, played by Danny Glover.
With over 130 film and television credits, Ackland appeared in a wide range of projects, including “K-19: The Widowmaker,” “Bill & Ted” and “The Hunt for Red October,” where he starred alongside Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin. His television work includes “Shadowlands,” where he played C.S. Lewis, and “Midsomer Murders.”
Ackland was made a CBE for services to drama in 2001. He earned two BAFTA nominations over the course of his career: one for best actor for the TV movie “First and Last,” and the other for supporting actor for “White Mischief.”
His acting career was not limited to the screen. He starred in several stage productions as well, alongside those such as Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Judi Dench and Tom Courtenay. Some of his most notable stage credits include portraying Juan Peron in “Evita” and starring opposite Hermione Gingold in “A Little Night Music.”
The actor was born in 1928 in the Ladbroke Grove area of London, but grew up in Kilburn, north London. Ackland attended London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, making his professional stage debut at 17 in the 1945 production of “The Hasty Heart.” He joined a variety of regional theater troupes to develop his acting skills and eventually joined London’s Old Vic.
Ackland was married to his wife Rosemary for 51 years before she died in 2002.
He is survived by his seven children, 34 grandchildren and 30 great grandchildren.
Best of Variety