FACTBOX - Edward Woodward, The Wicker man, dies

Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:44pm IST

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(Reuters) - British actor Edward Woodward, best known for his starring roles in cult classic "The Wicker Man" and U.S. television series "The Equalizer", died on Monday aged 79.

Following are some facts on his life and career:

* LIFE DETAILS:

-- Edward Albert Arthur Woodward was born June 1, 1930, in Croydon, Surrey.

-- He received his early education at various schools before becoming a student at Kingston College.

-- Trained in acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he made his stage debut in 1946 and gained valuable experience in repertory companies throughout England and Scotland.

-- He married actress Venetia Barrett in 1952 and had three children, all of whom went into acting -- Tim Woodward, Peter Woodward and Sarah Woodward. He was divorced after over 30 years and quickly married actress Michele Dotrice.

* STAGE & FILM DEBUT:

-- He took his first London curtain call in 1954 with "Where There's a Will" and subsequently made his movie debut recreating his stage part in the film version of "Where There's a Will" (1955).

-- A gifted singer, he produced over a dozen musical recordings. He also put out a host of audio books that made fine use of his mastery of the spoken word.

-- He performed in such Shakespearean productions as "Hamlet", "Romeo and Juliet", "Pericles", "Much Ado About Nothing" and "Measure for Measure" before scoring a major success with the play "Rattle of a Simple Man" in 1961, making his Broadway debut in the play two years later.

* STARRING ROLES:

-- Feature film roles in such acclaimed period costumers as "Becket" (1964) and "Young Winston" (1972) were overshadowed by his more successful work on television, especially his weary spy in "Callan" (1967), which spawned a TV movie and the popular character. In this role Woodward demonstrated his ability to express controlled rage which occasionally explodes, and his stoic demeanour has seen him cast in similar roles since.

-- His memorable role as repressed police Sergeant Howie in the chilling cult thriller "The Wicker Man" (1973) eventually led to international stardom as courtmartialed Lt. Harry Morant in the classic Australian-made historical drama "Breaker Morant" (1980).

-- Woodward was finally granted some attention in the United States at age 55, earning his own popular series, the noirish espionage series "The Equalizer" (1985).

-- Despite health problems - he underwent triple bypass surgery in 1996 after two heart attacks - he continued to appear on screen.

Sources: Reuters/www.screenonline.org.uk/www.imdb.com

(Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)

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