12:40 16 November 2009
Veteran actor Edward Woodward has died aged 79.
The star became a cultural icon thanks to his role in the classic British horror thriller 'The Wicker Man' and on television as 'The Equalizer'.
Woodward had been suffering from various illnesses, including pneumonia, and died in hospital, his agent confirmed.
Janet Glass released a statement praising his "brave spirit and wonderful humour".
It said: "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."
Woodward first found fame in the 1960s and early 1970s in the spy drama series 'Callan'.
As a film actor, his most remembered role is as a devout Christian police officer drawn to investigating the disappearance of a young girl in a sinister, isolated community in 'The Wicker Man'. In the 2006 remake, Nicolas Cage took on the role.
In the 1980s he gained international attention in the hit US TV series 'The Equalizer', playing a former spy turned gun-for-hire.
More recently, Woodward joined the long-running BBC soap EastEnders for a short stint as Tommy Clifford.
Speaking about the role earlier this year, Woodward said: "I was very pleased. I only like to do a few jobs each year and I pick the ones I can't turn down. I liked the character and six episodes suited me."
Woodward lived in the Padstow area of Cornwall, with his wife, actress Michele Dotrice. She is known for playing Frank Spencer's long-suffering wife Betty in the classic sitcom 'Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em'.
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