OBITUARIES: Edward Woodward (1930-2009)

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Edward Woodward died last night, a fine old man and always a strong presence in film and TV. The last time I saw him was in "Crusade" ten years ago, when he played an elderly Technomage, and guest-starred alongside his son, the amazing Peter Woodward, who was on the cast of the show. To be honest, it was probably their weakest episode, but that wasn't Edward's fault, and seeing the easy back and forth between father and son was kind of wonderful, even if it was stunt casting.

Edward had a number of Genre credits beyond Crusade in 1999. He also was in the 1996 TV production of the proto-Science Fiction epic, "Gulliver's Travels," he did a couple "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" in the mid-80s (Which, I know, isn't strictly-speaking SF), in 1977 he starred in a dystopic SF series called "1990", but I think the thing he'll always be best remembered for in my mind was as the Sergent in the original (1973) "Wicker Man" movie. Remember that one? The good one? Again, it's horror, not SF, but he was great in it, and that was a much creepier film in those days than it is today.

Of course his signature role is as the titular character from "Breaker Morrant" in 1980. (Yes! I know! That was the same guy who played "The Equalizer!" It's hard to believe, isn't it?) Unbeknownst to me until writing this obituary, it turns out the man released a large number of albums during his career, and was kind of known as a singer of traditional English songs.

He's survived by four children, Peter, Tim, Sarah and Emily, (All of whom are actors) an ex-wife, his wife Michelle Dottrice (Former Disney Child Starlet), and slews of grandchildren, including - most notably - Sam Woodward.

I don't have too much really to say about him as his work kind of speaks for itself. He was a fairly constant presence in my life as a character actor in the 70s and 80s, and I will say that I kind of missed him when he disappeared in the ninties. He was one of those actors who always seemed better than their material.

Our prayers and condolences go out to his family and on behalf of his soul.

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