London, July 23 (ANI): The British screen and stage actor Simon Ward has passed away at the age of 70 after a long illness, his agent has confirmed.
Ward appeared in several films throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including 'The Three Musketeers' and 'The Tudors'.
He also starred as Sir Monty in the popular BBC television series 'Judge John Deed'.
A statement released by his agent said he passed away peacefully with his wife Alexandra and daughters at his bedside, the BBC reported.
Ward's break into the theatre came in 1967 when he played the lead in Joe Orton's play, Loot, which paved the way for television and film roles.
In 1972, he gained national acclaim for his portrayal of Churchill in Richard Attenborough's epic film 'Young Winston', which featured a distinguished cast including Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft.
In 1974, Ward was cast as the author and veterinarian, James Herriot, in the original film adaptation of 'All Creatures Great and Small'.
'All Creatures Great and Small' later became a successful BBC television series with actor Christopher Timothy taking the lead role played by Ward in the film adaptation.
In more recent years Ward returned to theatre, touring the country with plays such as Alan Bennett's 'The Madness of George III' and Oscar Wilde's 'An Ideal Husband'.
In 1987 Ward suffered a serious head injury in a street attack that was never solved.
Actress Susan Penhaligon, who starred alongside Ward in 'The Madness of King George III', said he had been a loyal and sympathetic friend.
He was a witty, frighteningly clever and handsome, complex man who I worked with a lot, she hailed. (ANI)