British actor Edward Woodward, best know among genre fans for his portrayal of Sergeant Howie in Robin Hardy’s classic The Wicker Man, has passed away at age 79 in Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, Cornwall, England.
Per BBC News, the star, who was born June 1, 1930, in Croydon, Surrey, England, had been suffering from various illnesses, including pneumonia. His agent, Janet Glass, said he had been ill for several months and passed away surrounded by members of his family.
His Wicker Man co-star, Sir Christopher Lee, described Woodward as “a very good friend and a splendid actor“.
Ms. Glass adds, “I knew him a very long time, and he was a superb human being. That integrity shone through in the roles he played. I can’t ever remember, in all the productions he undertook, anyone having a bad word to say about him, and he never had anything bad to say about anyone else either. His passing will leave a huge gap in many lives.”
Robin Hardy, who directed The Wicker Man, said of Woodward, “He was one of the greatest actors of his generation, without any question, with a broad career on American television as well as British film. He was the absolute star of The Wicker Man. He was an extremely nice human being.”
Actor Simon Pegg, who was a big fan of Woodward and cast him in his 2007 film Hot Fuzz, said on Twitter, “So sorry to hear we have lost the great Edward Woodward. Feel lucky to have worked with him.” He later released a statement, saying that Hot Fuzz rehearsals “were often gleefully tossed aside just to hear him (Woodward) recount stories from his life and career. Edgar Wright and myself sought him out because we were fans of his work; by the time the cameras stopped rolling, we were devoted fans of the man. My love and sympathy goes out to Michelle and his family.”
Woodward, who was nominated for five Emmys and won a Golden Globe in 1987 for his role in the TV series “The Equalizer”, is survived by his second wife, the actress Michele Dotrice, and four children, three of whom he had during his first marriage.
Our deepest sympathies go out to Edward Woodward’s family and friends. Although he is gone, his incomparable legacy will live on forever.
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