“Joss was a long-time client and great friend who remained lucid, knowledgeable and mischievous until the end. He died peacefully with his family this morning,” said his representative, Paul Pearson.
In Richard Donner’s “Lethal Weapon 2,” his evil diplomatic character notably utters the phrase “Diplomatic immunity!” before being shot by police officer Roger Murtaugh, played by Danny Glover.
With more than 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 CS Lewis, and “Midsomer Murders.”
Ackland was appointed CBE for services to drama in 2001. He earned two BAFTA nominations during his career: one for best actor for the television film “First and Last” and the other for supporting actor for “White Mischief.”
His acting career was not limited to the screen. He also starred in several theater productions, alongside the likes of Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Judi Dench and Tom Courtenay. Some of his most notable theater credits include playing Juan Perón 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 and made his professional stage debut at age 17 in the 1945 production of “The Hasty Heart.” He joined a variety of regional theater companies 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.