ACTOR Aubrey Woods, famous across the world for playing the sweet shop owner in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, has died in Cumbria aged 85.

The star passed away in a hospital in Barrow-in-Furness on May 7 after a long and distinguished career.

Woods sang The Candy Man in the 1971 film starring Gene Wilder, which was based on the classic Roald Dahl book.

His character, Bill, sold Charlie Bucket the last remaining 'Golden Ticket', giving him a free pass to the magical chocolate factory.

The movie made $4 million in the US.

Born in London in 1928, Woods also appeared in Doctor Who serial Day of the Daleks and performed on stage in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

He divided his domestic life between a house in London and a cottage in the Lake District.

He is survived by his wife Gaynor.