Sidney Edmond Jocelyn Ackland
29 February 1928
North Kensington, London, England
|Died||19 November 2023 (aged 95)|
Clovelly, Devon, England
|Alma mater||Central School of Speech and Drama|
(m. 1951; died 2002)
Sidney Edmond Jocelyn Ackland was born in a basement flat in "then insalubrious" 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. The Acklands' basement flat was one of "a string of similar places" in which they lived, invariably with "one bedroom and the absolute bare essentials"; Ackland described his upbringing in the Ladbroke Grove area as being "very poor".
Ackland and Rosemary Kirkcaldy were married on 18 August 1951, when Ackland was 23 and she was 22. She was an actress and Ackland wooed her when they appeared on stage together in Pitlochry, Scotland. The couple struggled initially as Ackland's acting career was in its infancy. In 1954 they moved to Lilongwe in what was then Nysaland, now Malawi, where Ackland managed a tea plantation for six months but, deciding it was too dangerous, they moved to Cape Town, South Africa. Though they both obtained steady acting jobs in South Africa, after two years they returned to England in 1957.
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. 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. 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. 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. His voice (as well as that of Roy Dotrice) was heard reading quotations in several episodes of Jacob Bronowski's 1973 documentary series The Ascent of Man.
Ackland's stage roles included creating the role of Juan Perón in Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Evita opposite Elaine Paige. 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.
Ackland appeared in the Pet Shop Boys' 1988 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. Several years later, he said in an interview with the Radio Times that he had appeared with the band purely because his grandchildren liked their music.
In a 2001 interview with the BBC, Ackland said that he had 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".
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.
In 2008, Ackland 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.
Personal life and death
Ackland and his wife Rosemary (née Kirkcaldy) were married for 51 years. They had seven children, thirty-two grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Despite his filming taking him to far-flung locations, he said Rosemary and he "were hardly ever apart". 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.
In 1963, their house in Barnes caught fire. Rosemary saved their five children but broke her back when jumping from the bedroom window. She was told she would miscarry and never walk again, but she later gave birth and after 18 months in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, was able to walk again. Their eldest son, Paul, died of a heroin overdose in 1982, aged 29. In 2000, Rosemary was diagnosed with motor neurone disease; she died on 25 July 2002.
In 2020, Ackland participated in the "Letters Live" project, and was recorded from his home in Clovelly, Devon. His letter reflected on the COVID-19 crisis and his hopes for how the country could draw "strength from adversity".
|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|
|1970||The House That Dripped Blood||Neville Rogers|
|1971||Mr. Forbush and the Penguins||The Leader|
|1972||The Happiness Cage||Dr Frederick|
|1973||Hitler: The Last Ten Days||Gen. Burgdorf|
|1973||England Made Me||Haller|
|1973||The Three Musketeers||D'Artagnan's Father|
|1974||The Black Windmill||Chief Supt. Wray|
|1974||The Little Prince||The King|
|1974||Great Expectations||Joe Gargery|
|1975||One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing||B.J. Spence|
|1977||The Strange Case of the End of Civilisation 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)|
|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|
|1987||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 Connection||Mafia 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||The Mighty Ducks||Hans|
|1993||Nowhere to Run||Franklin Hale|
|1993||The Princess and the Goblin||King Papa (voice)|
|1994||Miracle on 34th Street||Victor Landberg (uncredited)||(Store Competitor for Shopper's Express)|
|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)|
|2000||The Mumbo Jumbo||Mayor 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|
|2005||The Christmas Eve Snowfall||(Narrator)|
|2006||These Foolish Things||Albert|
|2007||How About You||Donald|
|2013||Prisoners of the Sun||Prof. Mendella|
|2014||Katherine of Alexandria||Rufus|
|1957||Destination Downing Street||Immelmann||TV series|
|1963||The Indian Tales of Rudyard Kipling||William Stevens||TV series|
|1964||Z-Cars||Mr Shields||Episode: S03E29 "Happy Families"|
|1966||David Copperfield||Mr. Peggotty||TV series|
|1966||Lord Raingo||Tom Hogarth||TV series|
|1966||Theatre 625||John Hinks||Episode: "On the March to the Sea"|
|1967||The Further Adventures of the Three Musketeers||d'Artagnan||TV series|
|1966–1968||The Troubleshooters||Mr Gibbon (1966), Sam Jardine (1966-1967), Considine (1968), Lewis (1968)||5 episodes|
|1966||Mystery and Imagination||Herr Scavenius, Mr. Smedhurst||2 episodes: S02E01 "Room 13", S03E03 A Place of One's Own|
|1967–1968||Z-Cars||Det. Insp. Todd||41 episodes|
|1969||The Avengers||Brig. Hansing||One episode: S06E17 The Morning After|
|1969||The Gold Robbers||Derek Hartford|
|1969||Before the Party||Harold Bannon|
|1969||Canterbury Tales||The Host in the Wife of Bath's tale||series on BBC Two|
|1966, 1970||Play of the Month||Charley, Chebutykin||2 episodes: S01E08 "Death of a Salesman", S05E04 "The Three Sisters"|
|1971, 1972||Thirty-Minute Theatre||The Applicant, The Man||2 episodes: S07E06 "Getting In", S07E30 "King's Cross Lunch Hour"|
|1972||The Persuaders!||Felix Meadowes|
|1972||Shirley's World||Inspector Vaughan|
|1972||Six Faces||Harry Mellor||2 episodes|
|1973||The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes||Grubber|
|1974||The Protectors||Arthur Gordon||1 episode|
|1976||Centre Play||Doctor||1 episode: "You Talk Too Much"|
|1976||The Crezz||Charles Bronte|
|1978||Enemy at the Door||Major General Laidlaw||1 episode|
|1978||Return of the Saint||Gunther||1 episode: "The Nightmare Man"|
|1978||The Sweeney||Alan Ember||1 episode: "Feet of Clay"|
|1979||Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy||Jerry Westerby|
|1980, 1988||Tales of the Unexpected||Jack Cutler, Colonel George Peregrine||2 episodes: S03E07 "The Stinker", S09E02 "The Colonel's Lady"|
|1980||A Question of Guilt||Samuel Kent|
|1980||The Love Tapes||Narrator (uncredited)||TV movie|
|1980||The Gentle Touch||Ivor Stocker||1 episode|
|1981||Dangerous Davies – The Last Detective||Chief Insp. Yardbird||TV movie|
|1981||Thicker Than Water||Joseph Lockwood||TV series|
|1982||The Confessions of Felix Krull||Mr. Twentyman||TV series|
|1982||The Barretts of Wimpole Street||Edward Moulton-Barrett||TV movie|
|1984||Shroud for a Nightingale||Stephen Courtney-Briggs, surgeon||TV mini series|
|1984||The Tragedy of Coriolanus||Menenius||TV movie|
|1985||Shadowlands||C. S. Lewis||TV movie|
|1985||The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes||Jephro Rucastle||1 episode: S02E01 "The Copper Beeches"|
|1987||A Killing on the Exchange||Sir Max Sillman||TV movie|
|1987||Queenie||Sir Burton Rumsey||TV mini series|
|1987||When We Are Married||Henry Ormonroyd||TV movie|
|1988||The Man Who Lived at the Ritz||Hermann Göring||TV mini series|
|1988||Codename: Kyril||'C'||TV mini series|
|1989||A Quiet Conspiracy||Theo Carter||TV mini series|
|1989||The Justice Game||Sir James Crichton||2 episodes|
|1989||First and Last||Alan Holly||TV movie|
|1990||Jekyll & Hyde||Charles Lanyon||TV movie|
|1990||Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming||Gen. Gerhard Hellstein||TV movie|
|1991||A Murder of Quality||Terence Fielding||TV movie|
|1991||A Woman Named Jackie||Aristotle Onassis||TV mini series|
|1991||Ashenden||Cumming||TV mini series|
|1991||They Do It with Mirrors||Lewis Serrocold||TV movie|
|1992||Incident at Victoria Falls||King Edward||TV movie|
|1992||The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles||The Prussian||1 episode: S02E01 "Austria, March 1917"|
|1993, 1996||Screen Two||Sir Charles (Archie) Peverall, Captain||Episodes: S09E08 "Voices in the Garden", S14E02 "Deadly Voyage"|
|1994||Citizen Locke||Lord Ashley||TV movie|
|1994||Shakespeare: The Animated Tales||Julius Caesar (voice)||1 episode: "Julius Caesar"|
|1995||Citizen X||Bondarchuk||TV movie|
|1995||Daisies in December||Gerald Carmody||TV movie|
|1996||Hidden in Silence||German factory manager|
|1996||To the Ends of Time||King Francis||TV 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 Vuurst||1 episode|
|2001||Othello||James Brabant||TV movie|
|2003||Henry VIII||Henry VII||TV movie|
|2005||Icon||General Nikolai Nikolayev||TV movie|
|2006||Midsomer Murders||Sir Freddy Butler||1 episode: S09E03 "Vixen's Run"|
|2006||Hogfather||Mustrum Ridcully||TV mini series|
|2006||Above and Beyond||Winston Churchill||TV mini series|
|2007||Kingdom||Mr Narbutowicz||1 episode|
- Ackland, Joss (17 June 2010). My Better Half and Me. Ebury Press. ISBN 978-0-09-193347-0
- -- (1989). I Must Be In There Somewhere (autobiography). Hodder and Stoughton. ISBN 978-0-340-49396-0
- Hal Erickson (2009). "The New York Times". Movies & TV Dept. Baseline & All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on 21 June 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
- "Film in 1989" - Winners & Nominees at awards.bafta.org
- "Joss Ackland". BFI. Archived from the original on 28 May 2016.
- My Better Half and Me, Joss Ackland and Rosemary Ackland, Random House, 2010, p. 1
- People of Today 2017, Debrett's Ltd, 2017, p. 2127
- Joss Ackland Biography (1928–). FilmReference.com.
- "'I remember the smell of black, dusty sacks of coal'; WHERE I GREW UP". Independent.co.uk. 6 September 1997.
- "Joss Ackland obituary".
- V&A, Theatre and Performance Special Collections, Elsie Fogerty Archive, THM/324
- "Interview: Joss Ackland - Love and Joss". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. 19 August 2009.
- Whitney, Interview by Hilary (5 July 2023). "Time and place: Joss Ackland" – via www.thetimes.co.uk.
- "Obituary: Rosemary Ackland". The Daily Telegraph. London. 14 August 2002. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
- "Joss Ackland admits 'awful' films." BBC News. 6 August 2001
- "Shadowlands". 22 December 1985. p. 44 – via BBC Genome.
- "Evita review – breathtaking inventiveness and quicksilver fluency". The Guardian. 22 September 2014.
- "A Little Night Music - 1975 Original London Cast" – via castalbums.org.
- "Watch It Couldn't Happen Here". BFI Player.
- "The Mighty Ducks (1992) - Stephen Herek | Cast and Crew" – via www.allmovie.com.
- "How about You (2007)". BFI. Archived from the original on 16 May 2019.
- "Midsomer Murders - S9 - Episode 3: Vixen's Run - Part One". Radio Times.
- "The Old Vic - King Lear". Archived from the original on 29 October 2013.
- "Travelling with the archetypal Englishman Joss Ackland has spent fifty years in showbusiness" by Alison Jones, The Birmingham Post (12 August, 2008) [CITY Edition]. Retrieved from ProQuest 326412989
- Bohdanowicz, Kate (22 June 2010). "Motor neurone disease made Joss Ackland and his wife live life to the full". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
- Whitney, Interview by Hilary. "Time and place: Joss Ackland". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
- Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 107th edition, vol. 2, pp. 1694-5, 2932
- Burke's Irish Family Records, ed. Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd, Burke's Peerage Ltd, 1976, p. 531
- "Ackland pays tribute to 'plucky' wife". Irish Examiner. 25 July 2002. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
- Bohdanowicz, Kate (22 June 2010). "Motor neurone disease made Joss Ackland and his wife live life to the full". Express.co.uk.
- White, Roland. "Joss Ackland on love life with wife Rosemary". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
- Lloyd, Howard (20 April 2020). "Legendary Devon actor says crisis can 'breathe strength' into UK". DevonLive. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
- "92-year-old Joss Ackland reads a letter to the world - #ReadALetter". YouTube. 11 April 2020. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
- Rutter, Harry (19 November 2023). "Midsomer Murders star Joss Ackland dies as family pay tribute to actor". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
- "Joss Ackland Dies: 'White Mischief' And 'Lethal Weapon 2' Star Was 95". Deadline. 19 November 2023.
- Joss Ackland's voice acting credits at www.behindthevoiceactors.com
- "Gorillaz ready for four ‘special’ releases" at www.nme.com