Joss Ackland

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Joss Ackland

Sidney Edmond Jocelyn Ackland

(1928-02-29) 29 February 1928 (age 95)
London, England
Years active1949–2014
Rosemary Kirkcaldy
(m. 1951;died 2002)

Sidney Edmond Jocelyn Ackland CBE (born 29 February 1928) [1] is an English retired actor who has appeared in more than 130 film and television roles. [2] He was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for portraying Jock Delves Broughton in White Mischief (1987). [3]


Early life

Ackland was born in North Kensington, London on 29 February 1928, the son of Major Sydney Norman Ackland (died 1981), an Irish journalist who had been sent to England to live with an aunt by his parents for seducing their maid, but subsequently seduced his aunt's maid, Ruth Izod (died 1957), whom he married. [4] [5] [6] He was trained by Elsie Fogerty at the Central School of Speech and Drama, then based at the Royal Albert Hall, London. [7]

Ackland and Rosemary Kirkcaldy were married on 18 August 1951, when Ackland was 23 and she was 22. [8] She was an actress and Ackland wooed her when they appeared on stage together in Pitlochry, Scotland. [9] The couple struggled initially as Ackland's acting career was in its infancy. [8] In 1954 they moved to Lilongwe, Malawi, where Ackland managed a tea plantation for six months [10] but, deciding it was too dangerous, they moved to Cape Town, South Africa. [8] Though they both obtained steady acting jobs in South Africa, after two years they returned to England in 1957. [8] [11]


Ackland joined the Old Vic, appearing alongside other notable actors including Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Tom Courtenay. Ackland worked steadily in television and film in the 1960s and 70s. He worked opposite Alec Guinness in the 1979 television serial Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy , playing sporting journalist and intermittent British espionage operative Jerry Westerby, and his career advanced through the 1980s with important parts in such films as The Sicilian , Lethal Weapon 2 , The Hunt for Red October and White Mischief . [1]

On television Ackland appeared as Jephro Rucastle with Jeremy Brett and David Burke in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; the episode entitled "The Copper Beeches". Other appearances included Passion of Mind with Demi Moore and the two-part TV serial Hogfather based on Terry Pratchett's Discworld . [1] He played C. S. Lewis in the television version of Shadowlands before it was adapted into a stage play starring Nigel Hawthorne and then a theatrical film with Anthony Hopkins in the same role. [12]

His stage roles included creating the role of Juan Perón in Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Evita opposite Elaine Paige. [13] He also starred in the London production of Stephen Sondheim's and Hugh Wheeler's A Little Night Music with Jean Simmons and Hermione Gingold, performing on the RCA Victor original London cast album. [14]

Ackland appears in the Pet Shop Boys' 1987 film It Couldn't Happen Here , and in the video for their version of the song Always on My Mind , which was taken from the film. [15] Several years later, he said in an interview with the Radio Times that he appeared with the band purely because his grandchildren liked their music.[ citation needed ]

He also co-starred as Emilio Estevez's mentor and friend Hans in the 1992 Disney hit The Mighty Ducks . [16] He reprised the role four years later in 1996's D3: The Mighty Ducks . [1]

In a 2001 interview with the BBC, Ackland said that he appeared in some "awful films" due to being a workaholic. He said that he "regretted" appearing in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey and the Pet Shop Boys music video. He also criticised former co-star Demi Moore as "not very bright or talented". [11]

Also in 2007, Ackland appeared in the film How About You opposite Vanessa Redgrave, portraying a recovering alcoholic living in a residential home after being forced to retire and losing his wife to cancer. [17]

In 2008, he returned to the small screen as Sir Freddy Butler, a much married baronet, in the ITV1 show Midsomer Murders . The episode, entitled Vixens Run, also featured veteran actress Siân Phillips. [18]

In September 2013, Jonathan Miller directed a Gala Performance of William Shakespeare's King Lear at the Old Vic in London. Ackland played Lear. [19]

Personal life

Ackland and his wife Rosemary were married for 51 years. They had seven children, [20] thirty-two grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. [21] Despite his filming taking him to far-flung locations, he said Rosemary and he "were hardly ever apart". [22] Daughter Kirsty married Anthony Shawn Baring, a descendant of the merchant banker Sir Francis Baring, 1st Baronet and a descendant of Robert Rundell Guinness, founder of the merchant bank Guinness Mahon. [23] [24]

In 1963, their house in Barnes caught fire. Rosemary saved their five children but broke her back when jumping from the bedroom window. [25] She was told she would miscarry and never walk again, but later gave birth and, after 18 months in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, walked again. [26] [8] Their eldest son, Paul, died of a heroin overdose in 1982, aged 29. [27] In 2000, Rosemary was diagnosed with motor neurone disease; she died on 25 July 2002. [10] In 2020, Ackland participated in the Letters Live project, and was recorded from his home in Clovelly, Devon. [28] His letter reflected on the COVID-19 crisis and his hopes for how the country could draw 'strength from adversity'. [29]



1949 Landfall O'Neill (uncredited) [1]
1950 Seven Days to Noon
1952 Ghost Ship Ron, a seaman
1959 A Midsummer Night's Dream
1962 In Search of the Castaways Seaman on yacht (uncredited)
1966 Rasputin: the Mad Monk The Bishop
1969 Crescendo Carter
1970 The House That Dripped Blood Neville Rogers
1971 Villain Edgar Lewis
1971 Mr. Forbush and the Penguins The Leader
1972 The Happiness Cage Dr Frederick
1973 Hitler: The Last Ten Days Gen. Burgdorf
1973 Penny Gold Jones
1973 England Made Me Haller
1973 The Three Musketeers D'Artagnan's Father
1974 The Black Windmill Chief Supt. Wray
1974 S*P*Y*S Martinson
1974 The Little Prince The King
1974 Great Expectations Joe Gargery
1975 One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing B.J. Spence
1975 Royal Flash Sapten
1975 Operation Daybreak Janák
1977 The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It President
1978 Watership Down Black Rabbit (voice)
1978 Silver Bears Henry Foreman
1978 The Greek Tycoon (uncredited)
1978 Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? Cantrell
1979 A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square Prison Warden (uncredited)
1979 Saint Jack Yardley
1980 Rough Cut Insp. Vanderveld
1980 The Apple Hippie Leader/Mr Topps
1985 A Zed & Two Noughts Van Hoyten
1986 Lady Jane Sir John Bridges
1987 White Mischief Sir Jock Delves Broughton
1987 The Sicilian Don Masino Croce
1988 It Couldn't Happen Here Priest/murderer
1988 To Kill a Priest Colonel
1989 Lethal Weapon 2 Arjen 'Aryan' Rudd
1990 Dimenticare Palermo AKA The Palermo ConnectionMafia boss
1990 The Hunt for Red October Ambassador Andrei Lysenko
1990 Tre colonne in cronaca Gaetano Leporino
1991 The Object of Beauty Mr Mercer
1991 Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey Chuck De Nomolos
1992 The Sheltering Desert Col. Johnston
1992 Once Upon a Crime Hercules Popodopoulos
1992 Shadowchaser Kinderman
1992 The Bridge Smithson
1992 The Mighty Ducks Hans
1993 Nowhere to Run Franklin Hale
1993 The Princess and the Goblin King Papa (voice)
1994 OcchioPinocchio Brando
1994 Miracle on 34th Street Victor Landberg (uncredited)(Store Competitor for Shopper's Express)
1994 Giorgino Father Glaise
1995 Mad Dogs and Englishmen Insp. Sam Stringer
1995 The Thief and the Cobbler Brigand (voice)
1995 A Kid in King Arthur's Court King Arthur
1996 Surviving Picasso Henri Matisse
1996 D3: The Mighty Ducks Hans
1997 Swept from the Sea Mr Swaffer
1998 My Giant Monsignor Popescu (uncredited)
2000The Mumbo JumboMayor Smith
2000 Passion of Mind Dr Langer, the French Psychiatrist
2002 No Good Deed Mr Thomas Quarre
2002 K-19: The Widowmaker Marshal Zelentsov
2003 I'll Be There Evil Edmonds
2004 A Different Loyalty Randolph Cauffield
2005The Christmas Eve Snowfall(Narrator)
2005 Asylum Jack Straffen
2006 These Foolish Things Albert
2006 Moscow Zero Tolstoy
2007 How About You Donald
2008 Flawless MKA
2013 Prisoners of the Sun Prof. Mendella
2014 Katherine of Alexandria Rufus


1957Destination Downing StreetImmelmann
1963The Indian Tales of Rudyard KiplingWilliam Stevens
1964 Z-Cars Mr ShieldsEpisode: S03E29 "Happy Families"
1966 David Copperfield Mr. Peggotty
1966 Lord Raingo Tom Hogarth
1966 Theatre 625 John HinksEpisode: "On the March to the Sea"
1967The Further Adventures of the Three Musketeers d'Artagnan
1966-1968 The Troubleshooters Mr Gibbon (1966), Sam Jardine (1966-1967), Considine (1968), Lewis (1968)5 episodes
1966 Mystery and Imagination Herr Scavenius, Mr. Smedhurst2 episodes: S02E01 "Room 13", S03E03 A Place of One's Own
1967-1968 Z-Cars Det. Insp. Todd41 episodes
1969 The Avengers Brig. Hansing
1969The Gold RobbersDerek Hartford
1969 Before the Party Harold Bannon
1966, 1970 Play of the Month Charley, Chebutykin2 episodes: S01E08 "Death of a Salesman", S05E04 "The Three Sisters"
1971, 1972 Thirty-Minute Theatre The Applicant, The Man2 episodes: S07E06 "Getting In", S07E30 "King's Cross Lunch Hour"
1972 The Persuaders! Felix Meadowes
1972 Shirley's World Inspector Vaughan
1972Six FacesHarry Mellor2 episodes
1973 The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes Grubber
1974 The Protectors Arthur Gordon1 episode
1976Centre PlayDoctor1 episode: "You Talk Too Much"
1976 The Crezz Charles Bronte
1978 Enemy at the Door Major General Laidlaw1 episode
1978 Return of the Saint Gunther1 episode: "The Nightmare Man"
1978 The Sweeney Alan Ember1 episode: "Feet of Clay"
1979 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Jerry Westerby
1980, 1988 Tales of the Unexpected Jack Cutler, Colonel George Peregrine2 episodes: S03E07 "The Stinker", S09E02 "The Colonel's Lady"
1980A Question of GuiltSamuel Kent
1980The Love TapesNarrator (uncredited)TV movie
1980 The Gentle Touch Ivor Stocker1 episode
1981 Dangerous Davies – The Last Detective Chief Insp. YardbirdTV movie
1981Thicker Than WaterJoseph Lockwood
1982 The Confessions of Felix Krull Mr. Twentyman
1982The Barretts of Wimpole StreetEdward Moulton-BarrettTV movie
1984 Shroud for a Nightingale Stephen Courtney-Briggs, surgeonTV mini series
1984 The Tragedy of Coriolanus MeneniusTV movie
1985 Shadowlands C. S. Lewis TV movie
1985 The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Jephro Rucastle1 episode: S02E01 "The Copper Beeches"
1987 A Killing on the Exchange Sir Max SillmanTV movie
1987 Queenie Sir Burton RumseyTV mini series
1987 When We Are Married Henry OrmonroydTV movie
1988 The Man Who Lived at the Ritz Hermann Göring TV movie
1988 Codename: Kyril 'C'TV mini series
1989A Quiet ConspiracyTheo CarterTV mini series
1989The Justice GameSir James Crichton2 episodes
1989First and LastAlan HollyTV movie
1990 Jekyll & Hyde Charles LanyonTV movie
1990 Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming Gen. Gerhard HellsteinTV movie
1991 A Murder of Quality Terence FieldingTV movie
1991 A Woman Named Jackie Aristotle Onassis TV mini series
1991 Ashenden CummingTV mini series
1991 They Do It with Mirrors Lewis SerrocoldTV movie
1992 Incident at Victoria Falls King EdwardTV movie
1992 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles The Prussian1 episode: S02E01 "Austria, March 1917"
1993, 1996 Screen Two Sir Charles (Archie) Peverall, CaptainEpisodes: S09E08 "Voices in the Garden", S14E02 "Deadly Voyage"
1994Citizen LockeLord AshleyTV movie
1994 Shakespeare: The Animated Tales Julius Caesar (voice)1 episode: "Julius Caesar"
1994 Jacob Isaac TV movie
1995 Citizen X BondarchukTV movie
1995Daisies in DecemberGerald CarmodyTV movie
1996Hidden in SilenceGerman factory manager
1996To the Ends of TimeKing FrancisTV movie
1996 Testament: The Bible in Animation Noah (voice), Samuel (voice)2 episodes: S01E05 "Creation and the Flood", S01E09 "David and Saul"
1998 Heat of the Sun Max van der Vuurst1 episode
2001 Othello James BrabantTV movie
2003 Henry VIII Henry VII TV movie
2005 Icon General Nikolai NikolayevTV movie
2006 Midsomer Murders Sir Freddy Butler1 episode: S09E03 "Vixen's Run"
2006 Hogfather Mustrum Ridcully TV mini series
2006 Above and Beyond Winston Churchill TV mini series
2007 Kingdom Mr Narbutowicz1 episode

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  31. "Gorillaz ready for four ‘special’ releases" at