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Edward Woodward: The Gray Panther's Answer to Lee Major
by Gus Stevens

Chicago Tribune (10/20/85)

Edward Woodward. What's in a name? Not much, when it comes to being an Edward Woodward. He knows he's no Don Johnson, Lee Majors, Tom Selleck or Mr. T in high-concept name recognition in America.

Yet, the English actor is determined to make a name for himself in the New World as The Equalizer. He's the graying, stock-broker lookalike type seen Wednesdays on Channel 2 at 10pm., the hero of the new hour-long private-eye show.

Woodward was introduced to the press in America's western reaches during the summer when, in the midst of a CBS gathering in Phoenix, a Satellite linked him in temperate England to reporters in steaming Arizona.

It was the middle of the afternoon at the Arizona Biltmore, but it was midnight in London, where Woodward was ready to speak on a large screen 7,000 miles away. He was seated in what looked like a Victorian library, a room with paneling and leatherbound books in rows behind him. Very upscale.

Woodward's face was composed in a proper smile. He waited for a cue, something to tell him that he indeed could be seen and heard across the Atlantic and a continent. At last he got the nod and said:"Edward Woodward? Who the hell is he?"

The gathering in Phoenix laughed and Woodward heard it. He relaxed, ready to enjoy the interview. Then something went wrong with his sound. He couldn't hear the first question.

Asked if the voice from Arizona was coming through, he replied, "It sounds like a distant mouse."

Before long, technology caught up with art and the hands-across-the-sea meeting continued in good order. Woodward came off as a friendly sort of chap, not at all like that cold, efficient ex-agent on The Equalizer who shoots first and doesn't bother to ask questions later.

Woodward looks and sounds like he should be giving readings of Kipling--and with good reason. He's a native of Surrey and a product of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Well past his salad years, Woodward has lines in his face that show mileage as much as they do character. He's a calculated risk on CBS's part--an older hero who goes into American television crime-drama as a stranger to most TV audiences.

Woodward has been in the acting trade for more than 30 years, starting on the stage in London's West End. He's played Shakespeare in India and Ceylon and Noel Coward on Broadway.

His films include Becket, Young Winston, Sitting Target, The Wicker Man, Breaker Morant, Who Dares Wins and King David. He has played television roles by the score in England, and some of the programs have been aired here.

He even appeared in a TV-movie, Love is Forever, with Michael Landon.

Nevertheless Woodward knew that once The Equalizer erupted on American television (it made its debut last month), domestic viewers would be asking one another: "Who the hell is he?"

In The Equalizer Woodward plays Robert McCall who is supposed to be very deep. McCall obviously is a man with a complex past but he reveals almost nothing about himself. We know he once worked as an American agent, but be quit that job in bitterness against the system.

Even so, McCall still reports to Control (Robert Lansing) for occasional advice and instructions--they once met wearing prayer caps in a synagogue. He has a grown son, a legacy of a marriage broken by McCall's loyalty to spy duty, but they don't get along well. McCall would like to do something about that, but family ties and father-son understanding and tenderness do not meld comfortably with dedication to blowing away Gotham's hoodlums.

"He's a flawed man," Woodward said of McCall, "and those are always the most interesting to play."

He's also a violent man. In the opening scene of episode one of The Equalizer, McCall chops down an adversary amid the crowds of Manhattan--where the series is set--without explaining, now or later, exactly what is going on. Critics blustered about still more violence on television.

Producer Joel Surnow stuck up for mayhem on the tube: "We are dealing with life-and-death situations in this show. The urban arena is a violent arena." And The Equalizer seems determined to keep it that way."

McCall gets clients, usually beautiful women who, when he suggests to them, "Trust me," cave in without a whimper. They don't know him and vice versa, but who cares! He would make a marvelous insurance salesman.

A client in trouble asks, "Why are you doing this for someone you don't even know?" The Equalizer replies: "I have my reasons." When she wonders who he really is, he adds, "I am only what I appear to be. Nothing more."

Home | 4 New Shows | Equalizer Movie | Duo To Script | Mad Magazine | Get Tough | Welfare Hotel | All New York | New TV Hero | Squeeze |  Gray Panther

Home
4 New Shows
Equalizer Movie
Duo To Script
Mad Magazine
Get Tough
Welfare Hotel
All New York
New TV Hero
Squeeze
Jolly Good Shows
Child Death
Gray Panther
Creative Side--1
Creative Side--2
Creative Side--3

 

  

Edward Woodward: The Gray Panther's Answer to Lee Major
by Gus Stevens

Chicago Tribune (10/20/85)

Edward Woodward. What's in a name? Not much, when it comes to being an Edward Woodward. He knows he's no Don Johnson, Lee Majors, Tom Selleck or Mr. T in high-concept name recognition in America.

Yet, the English actor is determined to make a name for himself in the New World as The Equalizer. He's the graying, stock-broker lookalike type seen Wednesdays on Channel 2 at 10pm., the hero of the new hour-long private-eye show.

Woodward was introduced to the press in America's western reaches during the summer when, in the midst of a CBS gathering in Phoenix, a Satellite linked him in temperate England to reporters in steaming Arizona.

It was the middle of the afternoon at the Arizona Biltmore, but it was midnight in London, where Woodward was ready to speak on a large screen 7,000 miles away. He was seated in what looked like a Victorian library, a room with paneling and leatherbound books in rows behind him. Very upscale.

Woodward's face was composed in a proper smile. He waited for a cue, something to tell him that he indeed could be seen and heard across the Atlantic and a continent. At last he got the nod and said:"Edward Woodward? Who the hell is he?"

The gathering in Phoenix laughed and Woodward heard it. He relaxed, ready to enjoy the interview. Then something went wrong with his sound. He couldn't hear the first question.

Asked if the voice from Arizona was coming through, he replied, "It sounds like a distant mouse."

Before long, technology caught up with art and the hands-across-the-sea meeting continued in good order. Woodward came off as a friendly sort of chap, not at all like that cold, efficient ex-agent on The Equalizer who shoots first and doesn't bother to ask questions later.

Woodward looks and sounds like he should be giving readings of Kipling--and with good reason. He's a native of Surrey and a product of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Well past his salad years, Woodward has lines in his face that show mileage as much as they do character. He's a calculated risk on CBS's part--an older hero who goes into American television crime-drama as a stranger to most TV audiences.

Woodward has been in the acting trade for more than 30 years, starting on the stage in London's West End. He's played Shakespeare in India and Ceylon and Noel Coward on Broadway.

His films include Becket, Young Winston, Sitting Target, The Wicker Man, Breaker Morant, Who Dares Wins and King David. He has played television roles by the score in England, and some of the programs have been aired here.

He even appeared in a TV-movie, Love is Forever, with Michael Landon.

Nevertheless Woodward knew that once The Equalizer erupted on American television (it made its debut last month), domestic viewers would be asking one another: "Who the hell is he?"

In The Equalizer Woodward plays Robert McCall who is supposed to be very deep. McCall obviously is a man with a complex past but he reveals almost nothing about himself. We know he once worked as an American agent, but be quit that job in bitterness against the system.

Even so, McCall still reports to Control (Robert Lansing) for occasional advice and instructions--they once met wearing prayer caps in a synagogue. He has a grown son, a legacy of a marriage broken by McCall's loyalty to spy duty, but they don't get along well. McCall would like to do something about that, but family ties and father-son understanding and tenderness do not meld comfortably with dedication to blowing away Gotham's hoodlums.

"He's a flawed man," Woodward said of McCall, "and those are always the most interesting to play."

He's also a violent man. In the opening scene of episode one of The Equalizer, McCall chops down an adversary amid the crowds of Manhattan--where the series is set--without explaining, now or later, exactly what is going on. Critics blustered about still more violence on television.

Producer Joel Surnow stuck up for mayhem on the tube: "We are dealing with life-and-death situations in this show. The urban arena is a violent arena." And The Equalizer seems determined to keep it that way."

McCall gets clients, usually beautiful women who, when he suggests to them, "Trust me," cave in without a whimper. They don't know him and vice versa, but who cares! He would make a marvelous insurance salesman.

A client in trouble asks, "Why are you doing this for someone you don't even know?" The Equalizer replies: "I have my reasons." When she wonders who he really is, he adds, "I am only what I appear to be. Nothing more."

Home | 4 New Shows | Equalizer Movie | Duo To Script | Mad Magazine | Get Tough | Welfare Hotel | All New York | New TV Hero | Squeeze | Jolly Good Shows | Child Death | Gray Panther | Creative Side--1 | Creative Side--2 | Creative Side--3

This site was last updated 02/03/07