ATV Today celebrates the life of actor Patrick Macnee who has died aged 93. Macnee was best remembered for his roles in The Avengers and later The New Avengers.
A statement released on the actor’s official website reads:
“Daniel Patrick Macnee died a natural death at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, at age 93, with his family at his bedside”
The death was announced by his son Rupert Macnee earlier today. Born Daniel Patreick Macnee in London on the 6th of February 1922 he spent his early life in Lambourn, Berkshire, England, where his father, Daniel Macnee, was a racehorse trainer, and his mother, Dorothea Henry, was awarded a British Empire Medal for her work with military families.
“He was educated at Summerfields Preparatory School, where he acted in Henry V at the age of 11, with Sir Christopher Lee as the Dauphin; followed by attending Eton College, where comedian and author Michael Bentine became a life-long friend. Patrick trained at London’s Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, where he met and married Barbara Douglas. Macnee served in the coastal forces of the Royal Navy during World War II. When de-mobbed, he trudged the streets of London visiting the casting offices every day, and hung out near the entrances to London’s smarter restaurants and hotels in hope of “running into” a noted producer. There were a few near-misses. He got valuable experience onstage at The Windsor Repertory Theatre, in London’s West End, and on tours in Germany and the United States. He also accepted some minor film roles, including that of Young Marley in Alastair Sim’s classic version of A Christmas Carol.” – PatrickMacnee.com
He would spend much of his early adult years in America and Canada working on numerous productions stateside. It was however, of course, the character John Steed which would see Macnee become an international star. The Avengers, launched by ABC Television and later The New Avengers for ITV made the stars of the shows household names. Steed was of course charmingly elegant, quintessentially English, and slightly mysterious character. It even lead to a chart release as co-star Honor Blackman and Patrick teamed up for the saucy single Kinky Boots in 1964, while originally it failed to make the top twenty following repeats of the The Avengers in the 1990s the song hit number 5 in the UK the singles chart following its re-released. There was a return to music in the mid-1990s when he featured in the video for Oasis’ Don’t Look Back In Anger track.
“The Avengers. Patrick Macnee, along with co-stars Ian Hendry, Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg, Linda Thorson, Joanna Lumley, and Gareth Hunt, created a unique identity that has reverberated for nearly half a century. The pioneering television series aired throughout the 1960s, and The Avengers became known for its progressive approach to feminism, the female stars being more than a match for Steed…and a plethora of ‘diabolical master minds.’ The programme was also known for its creative team’s interest in stories about cutting-edge technology.” – – PatrickMacnee.com
The original series ran from 1961 to 1969 with The New Avengers repeating the original’s success across 1976 and 1977.
“After The Avengers, Mr. Macnee starred on Broadway in Anthony Shaffer’s “Sleuth,” and toured internationally with that play as well as several other successful theatrical productions. He appeared in features including A View to a Kill, with Roger Moore, The Howling and The Sea Wolves, also with Moore, Gregory Peck, and his old friend, David Niven. He guest-starred and played continuing roles in numerous American, British and Australian television productions. He recorded numerous audio books, including thirteen Jack Higgins titles, and voice-over narrations for the four hour mini-series “America at War in Color” and many others. Macnee travelled the world promoting his co-written memoirs Blind in One Ear and The Avengers: The Inside Story.” – PatrickMacnee.com
Macnee was pre-deceased by three wives, Barbara Helen Douglas Foulds, actor and devoted mother of his two children, a son, Rupert, and a daughter; Kate Woodville; and Baba Majos de Nagyzsenye. He has one grandson.
Patrick Macnee 6th February 1922 – 25th June 2015