British actor Joss Ackland, who notably appeared in “Lethal Weapon 2” and “The Hunt for Red October,” died Sunday morning, his longtime agent confirmed to The Times. He was 95.
“He died of old age this morning with his family around,” Ackland’s talent agent, Paul Pearson, told The Times on Sunday. “He was lucid, erudite and mischievous to the end.”
Ackland appeared onscreen alongside Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Richard Donner’s 1989 film “Lethal Weapon 2” as the main antagonist Arjen Rudd. He also starred as Andrei Lysenko in 1990’s “The Hunt for Red October,” which also featured Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery, James Earl Jones and Tim Curry.
He was a prolific actor, with more than 200 acting credits in a career that spanned six decades. Ackland was also noted for his roles in the films “White Mischief” — for which he received a BAFTA nomination for best actor in a supporting role — “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” and “Watership Down.” Some of his notable television roles include the 1979 adaptation of “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” “Shadowlands” and “The Avengers.”
Ackland’s last onscreen appearance came in 2014 when he was featured in the film “Decline of an Empire,” which also happened to be the last movie that Peter O’ Toole appeared in.
The consistently employed thespian was also a staple of British theater. He appeared in dozens of plays across England and his show business career fully launched when he joined the Old Vic Theatre in London. While at the Old Vic, Ackland shared the stage with Maggie Smith and Judi Dench. He starred as Juan Perón in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Evita” and alongside Hermione Gingold in the London staging of “A Little Night Music.”
Born Sidney Edmond Jocelyn Ackland in North Kensington, London, on Feb. 29, 1928, Ackland made his first professional appearance on the stage at the age of 17 in a 1954 production of “The Hasty Heart.”
He is survived by his seven children, 34 grandchildren and 30 great grandchildren.