British actor Joss Ackland has died at the age of 95, his family said in a statement.
Ackland, who appeared in over 130 film and television roles and was perhaps best known for his performances in Lethal Weapon 2 and White Mischief, died ‘peacefully surrounded by family’, his loved ones confirmed this evening.
The actor, who was made a CBE for services to drama in 2001, also spent much of his career on stage, starring alongside other British greats such as Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Judi Dench and Tom Courtenay.
Ackland was also a ‘beloved father’ and had been married to his wife Rosemary for 51 years before she died from motor neurone disease in 2002. The star had seven children, 34 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren.
‘He will be remembered as one of Britain’s most talented and beloved actors,’ his family added in a statement.
British actor Joss Ackland has died at the age of 95, his family said in a statement
Ackland, who appeared in over 130 film and television roles throughout his six-decade-long career
The screen and stage actor pictured with Elaine Paige as they starred in the 1978 production of Evita
The BAFTA nominated actor was born on February 29 1928 in North Kensington, London.
After attending London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, he made his professional debut on stage at just 17-years-old, starring in the 1945 production of The Hasty Heart.
Five years later he made his first appearance on film as an extra on the Oscar-winning thriller Seven Days to Noon. He then went onto make his first credited debut in Vernon Sewell’s 1952 Ghost Ship, where he played a supporting role.
For much of the 1950s, however, Ackland continued perfecting his roles in the threatre, before packing up his career for a brief period and moving to Africa with his wife.
The pair embarked on a seven-week voyage by cargo boat to Beira before travelling to Malawi where they began working on a tea plantation at the foot of M’lanje mountain.
After six-months, the couple decided to move to South Africa where Ackland would try to find theatre work.
They remained their for more than two years until 1957 when police raided their flat confiscating the children’s book Black Beauty over fears that it was subversive of apartheid.
‘Then one day we were raided by the police and they confiscated a book, Black Beauty, because the horse was black! I was faced with prison, so I got out in a hurry,’ he previously told the Mail.
It was when they arrived back to England that Ackland joined the Old Vic and his career began to soar.