British actor Edward Woodward dies

Starred in 'The Wicker Man,' 'The Equalizer'

LONDON -- British actor Edward Woodward, best known for his lead role in the 1973 cult classic "The Wicker Man" and a veteran of the stage, died on Monday aged 79, his agent said.

Janet Glass said he had been ill for several months and passed away in hospital surrounded by members of his family.

"I knew him a very long time and he was a superb human being," Glass told Reuters.

"That integrity shone through in the roles he played. I can't ever remember, in all the productions he undertook, anyone having a bad word to say about him and he never had anything bad to say about anyone else either."

Woodward played police sergeant Neil Howie in occult thriller "The Wicker Man," a story of his search for a missing girl on an isolated island.

In the United States he was renowned for his starring role in the 1980s television series "The Equalizer," for which he won a Golden Globe.