Bill & Ted actor dies as devastated fans pay tribute
Bill & Ted actor Joss Ackland has sadly passed away at the age of 95, his family confirmed in a statement. The actor, who had more than 130 film and TV roles to his name, died peacefully at home surrounded by his loved ones.
The family's statement read: "With his distinctive voice and commanding presence, Ackland brought a unique intensity and gravitas to his roles. He will be remembered as one of Britain's most talented and beloved actors."
Joss was also a cherished father and was married to his wife Rosemary for 51 years before she tragically passed away from motor neurone disease in 2002. The actor leaves behind seven children, 34 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren. He had worked with Hollywood stars including Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery on The Hunt for Red October and Keanu Reeves on Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey.
Fans have taken to social media to share their heartfelt tributes to the much-loved actor, with one fan posting: "Sad news about Joss Ackland. His performance in Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Copper Beeches is one of my favourite turns in anything."
Russell Grant shared: "The wonderful, kind actor Joss Ackland has passed age 95. One of my very first TV acting contracts was for the BBC's Canterbury Tales 1969. I had a tiny role in the Wife of Bath's tale played by Barbara Jefford and Joss was the Host. We filmed in beautiful Dorset at Milton Abbas."
Another fan wrote: "RIP Joss Ackland. Wonderful scene stealer in everything, even Pet Shop Boys videos." While another said: "Really sad to hear that Joss Ackland has died. The first thing I ever saw him in was a film called First and Last, about a retiree who embarks on a walk from Land's End to John O Groats. I thought it was just wonderful. Of course, he also had the best line in Lethal Weapon 2. RIP."
Born in 1928 in London's Ladbroke Grove area, Joss grew up in Kilburn, north London, with his brother Paddy and sister Barbara. Joss and his wife's home was burnt down in the early 1960s with a pregnant Rosemary breaking her spine. She defied doctors and managed to walk again but their family suffered more tragedy when their son Paul died from a heroin overdose, something Joss said he would never get over.
Joss Ackland's glittering career saw him share the stage with stars like Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Judi Dench and Tom Courtenay. He also starred alongside Alec Guinness in the 1979 TV series Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and films The Sicilian, Lethal Weapon 2 and The Hunt for Red October.
His first film role was a small part in the Oscar-winning thriller Seven Days to Noon in 1950. His first credited role came two years later in Ghost Ship.
Joss worked with various regional theatre groups before joining London's Old Vic. There, he performed with talents like Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith. Away from the Old Vic, he played Juan Peron in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita and starred in the London production of A Little Night Music.
In 2015, Joss read out a letter at Letters Live at Freemasons' Hall. The letter was addressed to his future wife Rosemary at the time it was written. His TV roles included an appearance in the 1960s spy show The Avengers.
He also starred in one of the Hammer Horror films, playing a bishop in Rasputin: The Mad Monk in 1966. He continued his acting career into the 2000s and in 2002, he appeared as Marshal Zelentsov in the thriller film K-19: The Widowmaker, alongside Hollywood star Harrison Ford.
His most recent roles include appearances in the TV mini-series Pinocchio in 2009, the film Prisoners Of The Sun in 2013 and the movie Fall Of An Empire: The Story Of Katherine Of Alexandria, also known as Decline Of An Empire, in 2014.
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