Veteran British actor Edward Woodward has died at the age of 79.
Woodward, best known for his roles in cult horror film The Wicker Man and hit TV series Callan and The Equalizer, passed away in hospital on Monday (16Nov09) after battling illnesses including pneumonia.
In a statement, his agent Janet Glass says: "Universally loved and admired through his unforgettable roles in classic productions such as Breaker Morant, The Wicker Man, Callan, The Equalizer and many more, he was equally fine and courageous in real life, never losing his brave spirit and wonderful humour throughout his illness.
"He was further sustained by the love of his wife, Michele, children, Tim, Peter, Sarah and Emily, his grandchildren and numerous friends. His passing will leave a huge gap in many lives."
After graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Woodward launched his career as a theatre actor in Shakespeare plays across the U.K. and made his London stage debut in Where There's A Will in 1955.
He then made several appearances on Broadway in shows including the Tony Award-winning musical High Spirits and landed a clutch of film roles before starring as devout Christian Police Sergeant Neil Howie in 1973's The Wicker Man. Several movies parts followed, including the title role in Australian drama Breaker Morant in 1980.
Woodward was also a prolific TV actor, appearing in more than 2,000 productions, most notably as David Callan in spy series Callan and as former secret agent Robert MCCall in The Equalizer. This latter role earned him a 1987 Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Dramatic TV Series and four Emmy Award nominations from 1986 to 1990.
He was made an Order of the British Empire in 1978.
Woodward's most recent roles included a part in 2007 comedy Hot Fuzz and an appearance in hit British soap opera EastEnders earlier this year (09). In addition to acting, Woodward was also an accomplished singer and recorded 12 albums.
He suffered two heart attacks and underwent triple bypass surgery in 1996, and in February 2003 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Woodward died at a hospital near his home in Cornwall, south west England on Monday (16Nov09). He leaves behind two sons - Tim and Peter - and daughter Sarah, from his first marriage to Venetia Barrett, and daughter Emily Beth, from his second marriage to Michele Dotrice.
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