Woodward was a highly-respected actor in England. Before accepting the role of Robert McCall, a retired and disillusioned Cold War-era spy who helped the helpless in the mean streets of New York as a way of paying penance for some of the sins he committed in the line of duty, he was probably best known in the U.S. for his role in the film Breaker Morant.
The show was gritty, human and had a GREAT opening theme from Police drummer Stewart Copeland.
The Washington Post has a full bio and obit here; the Indianapolis Star has a report on Woodward's passing, as well as the death of another, much younger, icon from the 1980s, Ken Ober. Ober was the host of MTV's first non-music program, Remote Control. Yes, at one point in time, the "M" in "MTV" stood for "Music." Shocking, I know...
Kevin at Exurban League sums it up thusly - "Great show. Fantastic intro. Gonna miss him."
The folks over at EL are usually spectacularly wrong on all issues political, but they've got some pretty good taste in movies, music, and TV. Though they lose serious points for the David Hasselhoff reference. I know it was the Berlin Wall, but Hasselhoff?