'This Is the Law' host Austin Willis dead at 86

Austin Willis, best known for hosting the 1970s CBC television show This Is the Law, has died at 86.

Austin Willis, a theatre and film actor best known for hosting the 1970s CBC television show This Is the Law, has died at the age of 86.

Willis began his career in radio, landing a job with CHNS in Halifax as the Second World War began in 1939.

He went on to perform in plays in London's West End and on Broadway, as well as at home in Canada.

Bush Pilot (1947) was the first of his 24 movie roles. Other credits included small roles in The Mouse That Roared with Peter Sellers (1959) and the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger.

Willis also starred opposite Tony Curtis in The Boston Strangler in 1968.

This Is the Law ran from 1972 to 1976, presenting short vignettes and challenging viewers to guess which Canadian law was being broken by the hapless main character, played by actor Paul Soles. Willis was the host.

Just after the Second World War, Willis starred in Johnny Home, a radio program designed to explain rehabilitation credits to returning veterans.

In the 1950s, he hosted Cross Canada Hit Parade, a variety show that featured most of the country's biggest names in popular music at the time.

For a time, Willis was married to actress Kate Reid. They had two children before divorcing, and Willis married Gwen Leforgy in 1984.

Friends and family are planning a memorial service in Halifax Tuesday.