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'Sherlock Holmes' Actor Edward Hardwicke Dies at 78

Edward Hardwicke and Jeremy Brett
Granada Television/Courtesy Everett Collection

He played the faithful Dr. Watson opposite Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes in the famed Granada Television series of the 1980s and ’90s.

Edward Hardwicke, who played the faithful Dr. Watson opposite Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes in the famed Granada Television series of the 1980s and ’90s, died Monday, the Telegraph in London reported. He was 78.

Hardwicke replaced David Burke and appeared as Watson in 11 hourlong episodes in Granada’s The Return of Sherlock Holmes from 1986-88; in two-hour versions of The Sign of Four (1987) and The Hound of The Baskervilles (1988); and then in seasons broadcast as The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (1991) and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1994). He also handled the role on the West End stage with Brett in 1989’s The Secret of Sherlock Holmes.

The Granada adventures were exceeding faithful to the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories, so Hardwicke played Watson not as a bumbler of the Basil Rathbone-Nigel Bruce era but as a dashing, stately former military doctor.

The son of actors Cedric Hardwicke and Helena Pickard, the London native appeared in his first movie at age 10, A Guy Named Joe (1943), which starred Spencer Tracy. Other film credits include The Day of the Jackal (1973), Shadowlands (1993), Richard III (1995), The Scarlet Letter (1995), Elizabeth (1998) and Love Actually (2003).

Hardwicke was a member of Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre in the 1960s and had regular roles in the British TV series Colditz (playing a character based on real-life war hero Pat Reid); My Old Man; Tycoon; and Strangers and Brothers.

He is survived by daughters Kate and Emma.