Patrick Macnee

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Patrick Macnee
Patrick Macnee
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Portrays: Count Iblis
Date of Birth: February 6, 1922
Date of Death: June 25, 2015
Age at Death: 93
Nationality: UK UK


Early Life and Career

Patrick Macnee (born Daniel Patrick Macnee on February 6, 1922 in London, England, died June 25, 2015 in Rancho Mirage, CA) was a British stage, film and television actor.

Born and raised in a wealthy family with turbulent changes caused by his father's lifestyle, Macnee was raised by his mother, Dorothea Mary, and her female partner.

Graduating from Eton College (despite a near-expulsion due to his involvement in a gambling ring), Macnee began his career as an extra in the 1938 film, Pygmalion (starring the film's star and director, Leslie Howard). World War II interrupted his acting career as he served in the Royal Navy, after which Macnee entered into a drama school for additional training in Britain.

Macnee landed additional minor and extra roles in some of the first BBC televised movies in the latter 1940s, including Wuthering Heights, Macbeth, Othello and Hamlet. One of his earliest credited film roles was the 1951 production of Scrooge starring Alastair Sim, where he played the young Jacob Marley.

Seeking more substantial roles, Macnee left to work in Canada and the neighboring United States. From 1955 to 1960, he appeared mostly on Canadian and US television, chiefly in dramatic anthology series such as Playhouse 90, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and the first season Twilight Zone episode "Judgment Night" which starred Nehemiah Persoff. Another notable role was in the Kraft Television Theatre production of A Night To Remember about the sinking of the Titanic. Macnee played Thomas Andrews, the doomed builder and designer of the liner in a live broadcast that required 107 actors and 31 sets, described at the time as "the most complex live television show ever attempted."

The Avengers

Because he had failed to achieve notable stardom in the US, Macnee returned to England to co-produce an ambitious documentary series about Winston Churchill, The Valiant Years. He wasn't sure about continuing as an actor until he received the offer in 1960 that would change his life forever as John Steed, the derby-wearing, umbrella-carrying secret agent in the British TV series The Avengers. In the first season, Macnee largely played second-fiddle to the nominal star, Ian Hendry as Dr. David Keel. After Hendry's departure following the first season, Macnee became the first-billed star of the show, playing opposite a series of female partners, first with Honor Blackman (as the leather-suited Cathy Gale), followed by Diana Rigg (as Mrs. Emma Peel), and finally Linda Thorson (as Tara King). Macnee lent his costume designing skills to the series as well. The series ran from 1961 to 1969, and reached American audiences starting in 1966 when ABC began airing the episodes featuring Macnee and Rigg. Macnee subsequently reprised the character of Steed in The New Avengers, which ran from 1976 to 1977 in Britain. In the 1998 film remake of The Avengers he had a voice-only cameo as "Invisible Jones."

Return to the US

Following the end of The Avengers, Macnee returned to the US as his primary base, appearing in many American films and TV shows for the next three decades. His credits included such shows as Night Gallery and Columbo. He reunited with his Avengers co-star Diana Rigg in an episode of her short-lived 1973 sitcom Diana as an old flame of hers. His iconic status as John Steed also led to other spy-oriented projects such as a regular role in the short-lived spy series Gavilan (1982), the 1983 TV-movie Return Of The Man From U.N.C.L.E and the James Bond film, A View To A Kill. (1985) He also played Dr. Watson in three different Sherlock Holmes TV-movies between 1976 and 1992.

Galactica and Glen Larson

Macnee first worked for Glen A. Larson in an episode of Alias Smith And Jones and later The Hardy Boys. For the Original Series he was first hired to do the uncredited voice of the Imperious Leader and the opening narration that began, "There are those who believe, that life here began out there." This led to him being cast as the mysterious Count Iblis in the two-part episode "War of the Gods," which became perhaps his most famous role outside that of John Steed.

After Galactica, Macnee also guested on the Larson co-created Magnum P.I. and had a recurring role on the 1997 Larson series NightMan.

Personal Life and Death

Macnee married his first wife, Barbara Douglas, in 1942. They had two children, Rupert and Jenny, and a grandson, Christopher ("Kit"). The divorced in 1956. In 1959, while working in the US, he became an American citizen. His second marriage (1965−1969) was to actress Kate Woodville, who appeared in the Star Trek episode "For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky". His third marriage was to Baba Majos de Nagyzsenye, daughter of opera singer Ella Némethy. It lasted from 1988 until her death in 2007. The notable British television magician David Nixon was his cousin.

Macnee died in 2015 in Rancho Mirage, CA at age 93. Longtime friend Roger Moore tweeted, "We were mates from 1950s and I have so many happy memories of working with him. A true gent."

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