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Image: Edward Woodward
Lennox Mclendon  /  AP file
British actor Edward Woodward poses with his award for his role in the TV series "The Equalizer" at the 44th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony in Hollywood, Calif., on Jan. 31, 1987.
updated 11/16/2009 8:59:03 AM ET 2009-11-16T13:59:03

Edward Woodward, the star of films including "Breaker Morant" and "The Wicker Man," died Monday. He was 79.

Woodward, who starred at "The Equalizer" on television, died in a hospital in Cornwall after an illness, said Janet Glass of the Eric Glass Ltd. agency in London.

He won an Emmy Award in 1990 for "Remembering World War II" and a Golden Globe in 1987 for "The Equalizer," which ran for 88 episodes from 1985 to 1989 on CBS.

In a career that began in 1946 in a regional production of "A Kiss for Cinderella," Woodward played roles in productions ranging from the popular British soap opera "Eastenders" to productions of Shakespeare, and at least 40 films for theater or television.

His last film appearances were in "Hot Fuzz" in 2007 and "Congregation of Ghosts," now in post-production.

He also recorded several albums including "Love is the Key" in 1977 and "The Jewel that was Ours" in 1994.

"I think I've probably done more television than any actor living," Woodward said in a 1987 interview. "I've done over 2,000, could be 3,000 now, television productions.

"I suppose there is also the feeling that it is the largest medium by far for information, education and above all, entertainment," he added. "And after all, that's what an actor's life is all about. Getting work and entertaining people."

At the time, Woodward was promoting a U.S. television film of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," in which he played the wicked slave owner, Simon Legree. He found the role strangely refreshing.

"If you are a British actor, you do lots of Shakespeare and lots of classical work. There is always a great actor who has just played your character," he said.

"Lucky for me, Simon Legree has not been done very often," he added.

Woodward is survived by his second wife, actress Michele Dotrice, their daughter, and two sons and a daughter from his first marriage, which ended in divorce.

Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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