Patrick Macnee has died. Born in 1922, the English-American actor, who was popular for his role as secret agent John Steed (umbrella-wielding character) in the television series The Avengers, was ninety-three at the time of his death. The Paddington, London native, the son of a horse trainer. On Thursday, he passed away from natural causes in Rancho Mirage surrounded by his family, in statement by his son Rupert,
The clever spy drama, which began in 1961 in Britain, debuted in the United States in 1966. It ran for eight seasons and continued in syndication for decades afterward.
Macnee’s umbrella-wielding character appeared in all but two episodes, accompanied by a string of beautiful women who were his sidekicks. The most popular was likely Diana Rigg, who played sexy junior agent Emma Peel from 1965 to 1968. Honor Blackman played Catherine Gale from 1962 to 1964, and Linda Thorson was Tara King from 1968 to 1969.
“We were in our own mad, crazy world,” Macnee told the Wichita Eagle in 2003 when “The New Avengers” was being issued on DVD. “We were the TV Beatles. We even filmed in the same studio.”
But while he made his name internationally playing a smart, debonair British secret agent, Macnee was never a fan of the “James Bond” movies.
“I think their stories aren’t that realistic,” he told Salt Lake City’s Deseret News in 1999. “I think the sadism in them is horrifying. … On the other hand, the books — the ‘James Bond’ books — were fascinating.”
Macnee was also an extra in the 1938 film “Pygmalion.” and at the age of nineteen he wed Barbara Douglas, they had two children together, Rupert and Jenny. [Read more...]