November 20, 2009

Equalizer Star Edward Woodward Passes

Widely-recognized from his starring stint in the 1980s CBS drama The Equalizer, Woodward's work included many acclaimed films.

Edward Woodward, a British actor who starred in the 1980s television series The Equalizer, as well as feature films such as Breaker Morant and The Wicker Man, died November 16, 2009. He was 79.

Woodward, who had suffered from pneumonia and other illnesses, died in a hospital in Truro, Cornwall, England.

A graduate of Britain’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Woodward began his career on stage in 1946. He later became well known in the U.S. as star of The Equalizer, a drama about a former secret agent who takes on unique cases that aired on CBS from 1985 to 1989.

For his work as The Equalizer’s Edward McCall, Woodward earned received five Emmy nominations and won a Golden Globe.

At the time, Woodward was already famous in Britain as the star of Callan, a spy series that ran from 1967 to 1972. He reprised the role in a 1974 movie of the same name.

Woodward was also familiar for the 1973 British thriller The Wicker Man, in which he played a police sergeant who is sent to a remote Scottish island to investigate a missing girl and discovers that the locals are practicing pagans.

He may have been best known in America for playing the title role in Breaker Morant, director Bruce Beresford’s acclaimed 1980 film about three Australian lieutenants on trial for murdering Boer prisoners during the Boer War in South Africa at the turn of the 20th century.

Woodward also starred as a British mystery writer and detective in the 1990-91 CBS series Over My Dead Body.

Born June 1, 1930, in Croydon, Surrey, England, Woodward attended Kingston College and entered the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at age 16. He was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and performed in productions in London’s West End as well as the Royal National Theatre, under Laurence Olivier. He also appeared on Broadway.

Woodward, who was named an officer of the Order of the British Empire, also recorded 12 solo albums as a singer and won an Emmy as host of the 1989 documentary Remembering World War II.

He is survived by his second wife, their daughter, three children from his first marriage and six grandchildren.

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