Regarded by many as England's finest actor, Edward Woodward started out in the workaday world as a sanitation engineer. At 15, Woodward enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and at 16 he made his theatrical bow with the Farnham Repertory. His first significant West End stage success was the 1954 comedy Where There's a Will, which also served as his film debut that same year. He was elevated to star status with his flawless performance in the 1961 production Rattle of a Simple Man. This led to his Broadway debut in High Spirits, a musical adaptation of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit. He went on to spend several seasons with Olivier's National Theatre, scoring an enormous hit in the title role of Cyrano de Bergerac. The TV-idol phase of Woodward's career began in 1967, when he was cast as two-fisted detective Callan in the weekly series A Magnum for Schneider, later retitled Callan in deference to Woodward's popularity. He continued playing Callan until 1973, then extended his newfound celebrity to the big screen, starring in such films as The Wicker Man (1973) and Breaker Morant (1980). His post-Callan TV work included 1977's The Secret Army, the role of Simon Legree in the 1987 TV-movie Uncle Tom's Cabin, the part of Sherlock Holmes in 1990's Hands of a Murderer, and, of course, his four-season (1985-1989) run as soldier-of-fortune Robert McCall in The Equalizer. He also starred in a number of British TV musical specials, exhibiting his superbly trained singing voice. In addition, Woodward recorded several "talking records," for which he won two Gold Disc awards (the British equivalent of the Grammys). Though plagued by serious health problems, Woodward seldom stopped working during the later years of his life, and in 1997 returned to star in the third season of the British situation comedy Common as Muck. He died at age 79 in November 2009,
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Played professional soccer for two English clubs prior to taking up acting seriously.
- Made first London curtain call in 1954 for Where There's a Will. Appeared in the film version of the play a year later in the same role.
- Recorded 12 albums of romantic songs, three albums of poetry and 14 books on tape.
- Gained acclaim for TV roles on three different continents. Initially in Europe in Becket, Young Winston and Callan, then in Australia as Lt. Morant in Breaker Morant and finally in North America in The Equalizer.
- Film career spanned nearly 55 years.