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Famed Disney Actor, Dead at 95, Leaves Behind Legacy to 34 Grandkids & 30 Great-Grands

mighty ducks logo and man
Credit: Disney/Warner Bros./Canva

A famous Disney actor who appeared in more than 130 productions during his lifetime has died at the age of 95, leaving behind an enormous and far-reaching legacy, quite literally.

When it comes to a career as a Hollywood actor and performer, the goals are often simple: make an impression, make a mark, leave a legacy. And since the birth of the film and television industry, countless actors, actresses, and other performers have accomplished those goals, though by varying methods with varied performances and varying degrees of success.

hollywood sign and film cllip

Credit: Canva

Occasionally, there are actors and actresses who are capable of making their mark in Hollywood while never sacrificing their personal lives and families, and those individuals have a rare talent indeed, and one Disney actor who passed away only days ago was one of those individuals.

A Career That Spanned Decades

Sidney Edmond Jocelyn Ackland, better known as actor Joss Ackland, was born on February 29, 1928, in London. He attended London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, and shortly thereafter, at the young age of 17, Ackland made his acting debut in The Hasty Heart in 1945.

As part of his acting career, Ackland appeared alongside other memorable actors in the business, including Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, and Dame Judi Dench, whose voice can be heard as the narrator in the Spaceship Earth attraction at EPCOT at Walt Disney World.

spaceship earth at night at EPCOT

Credit: Becky Burkett

READ ALSO: Walt Disney Told a Man He’d Kill Him, So They Ended Up Creating EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth Ride

The acclaimed English actor enjoyed nonstop acting opportunities in the 1960s and 1970s, and over the course of his decades-long career, Ackland appeared in more than 130 radio, television, and film roles, including some for Walt Disney Pictures. According to BFI, Ackland “had a fine line in villainy and accents over many decades of memorable supporting turns in film and television.”

In 1979, he worked on Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a television special in which he played a sports journalist and British spy. But his career wasn’t over yet, as he continued to build on his acting prowess throughout the 1980s, during which he enjoyed some of his most memorable roles, including those in The Sicilian, Lethal Weapon 2, The Hunt for Red October with Sean Connery, and White Mischief.

The Hunt for Red October (1990)

Ackland in “The Hunt for Red October” (1990)/Credit: Paramount

He also played the role of author CS Lewis in the made-for-television iteration of Shadowlands before it was turned into a stage play and then a theatrical film in which Sir Anthony Hopkins played the same role. In addition to his film and television roles, Ackland, known for his warm and rich-toned voice, lent that voice to numerous television commercials for Yellow Pages, The Kellogg Company, and others, which aired in Great Britain.

two men look at picture frame

Credit: Disney

To Disney fans, Ackland will best be remembered for embodying the role of Hans, the owner of the Mighty Ducks hockey team in The Mighty Ducks film franchise, which starred actor Emilio Estevez. The series includes The Mighty Ducks (1992), D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994), D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996), and a television show titled The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers.

Mighty Ducks', Joss Ackland, Star Dead at 95

Ackland (L) with Emilio Estevez in Disney’s “The Mighty Ducks” (1992)/Credit: Disney

A Personal Legacy Worth Remembering

And while Ackland will long be remembered for his contributions to the stage, film, television, and radio, it’s the personal legacy he leaves behind that’s perhaps the most impressive.

Joss Ackland married Rosemary Kirkcaldy on August 18, 1951. He was 23 years old, and she was one year his junior. When she died in 2002, the couple had been blissfully married for 51 years, and Ackland was quoted as saying that though his work saw him traveling often, he and his wife were rarely apart.

Mighty Ducks', Joss Ackland, Star Dead at 95

Credit: Disney

Together, Joss and Rosemary had seven children. Ultimately, the English actor became a grandfather of 34 and a great-grandfather of 30, and there’s just something about those achievements that seems to trump even Ackland’s more than 130 performances as part of his decorated career.

Ackland died on November 19, 2023, and our sympathy extends to those who knew and loved him best.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!