Aubrey Woods was an English actor and singer who played the candy shop owner in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. He also appeared in Doctor Who, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He died in 2013 at the age of 85 from natural causes.
A Life on Stage and Screen
Aubrey Woods was born on 9 April 1928 in Edmonton, Middlesex and grew up in Palmers Green. He attended the Latymer School and began his acting career at the age of 17 as Smike in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. He later studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and married his wife Gaynor in 1952.
Woods had a long and varied career in theatre, film, television, and radio. He played Fagin in Oliver!, Alfred Jingle in Pickwick, Jacob and Potiphar in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and many other roles. He also wrote and co-produced the musical Trelawny in the 1970s.
Woods’ most famous film role was in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, where he sang The Candy Man in the opening scene. The song was later a hit for Sammy Davis Jr. Woods also appeared in films such as The Greed of William Hart, Wuthering Heights, Z.P.G., and The Darwin Adventure.
Woods’ television credits include Z-Cars, Up Pompeii!, Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, and Ever Decreasing Circles. He played The Controller in the Doctor Who serial Day of the Daleks in 1972. He also voiced characters in the radio series of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and dramatised E.F. Benson’s novel Secret Lives.
A Peaceful End
Woods died on 7 May 2013, at his home in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. He passed away from natural causes at the age of 85. He was survived by his wife Gaynor, whom he had been married to for 61 years. His death was announced by his agent and confirmed by his family.
Woods was remembered by his fans and colleagues as a talented and versatile actor and a kind and generous person. He left behind a legacy of memorable performances and a catchy tune that still delights children and adults alike.