Edward Albert Arthur Woodward OBE is an English actor and singer. Originally a Shakespearian stage actor, he is best known for his role in the 1960-1970s spy series, Callan, for the 1973 film The Wicker Man and his lead role in the 1980s American television series The Equalizer.
Woodward attended Eccleston Road and Sydenham Road School, Croydon, and the Elmwood School in Wallingford, as well as Hinchley Wood School in Surrey. He then attended Kingston College.
Woodward wanted to become an actor, but initially in the post war period became an Associate Member of RADA while taking amateur roles. Wanting to train as journalist, he eventually took work in a sanitary engineer's office, before attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Woodward began as stage actor at the Castle Theatre, Farnham, in 1946. After graduation from RADA he worked extensively in repertory companies as a Shakespearean actor throughout England and Scotland, making his London debut in Where There's A Will in 1955, and also starred in the film adaptation that same year.
His work in the West End included Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet both in 1955, as well as Cyrano de Bergerac in 1971. Having established himself, he also worked on Broadway theatre in New York, and in Australia. Woodward first appeared on Broadway, in Rattle of a Simple Man (1963) and the musical comedy High Spirits (1964–1965), which won three Tony Awards, followed by the 1966 comedy The Best Laid Plans.
Woodward made his film debut in the 1955 screen adaptation of R.F. Delderfield's play, Where There's a Will. He then made occasional appearances, until taking the role of the repressed, devout Christian Police Sergeant Neil Howie in the chilling occult thriller The Wicker Man in 1973.
Many critics have cited the final scene in The Wicker Man as one of the greatest visual shots in cinema history. Woodward was offered a cameo role in the 2005 remake, but declined, even though he said he thought the script was very well written. He also appeared in the 1982 film Who Dares Wins as Commander Powell.
Woodward made the title role of Boer War hero Harry "Breaker" Harbord Morant in the Australian biographical film drama Breaker Morant highly acclaimed in 1980, and brought the film to global notability.
Woodward also had a small supporting role in the 2007 action comedy, Hot Fuzz.
Throughout his career, Woodward has appeared in over 2000 television productions. In 1967 he was cast as David Callan in the ITV Armchair Theatre play A Magnum for Schneider, which later became 1960's set spy series Callan. His first television role in which he could demonstrate his ability to express controlled rage, his iconic performance assured the series success from the television in 1972 to a film in 1974.
Woodward also appeared on the BBC's Morecambe and Wise Show. When asked by Eric Morecambe who would ever appear in one of Ernie Wise's 'little plays what he wrote`, Ernie replied "Edward Woodward would."
Woodward appeared opposite Sir Laurence Olivier in the 1978 episode of Laurence Olivier Presents - Saturday, Sunday, Monday.
The series allowed him to be cast in similar roles, but none proved as iconic as "Callan". In 1977 he starred in two series of the BBC2 dystopian drama 1990, about a future Britain lurching into totalitarianism.
Moving his talents back to the stage and film, it was not until he took the lead role in the 1980s American television series The Equalizer as a British former CIA operative that he found equal and greater recognition and popularity. The series ran from 1985 until 1989. It ended abruptly after he suffered a massive coronary.
He also stared in the short-lived CBS series "Over My Dead Body", which ran in 1990, playing a mystery writer who gets involved solving real crimes.