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Patrick Macnee Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (16) | Personal Quotes (12) | Salary (1)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 6 February 1922Paddington, London, England, UK
Date of Death 25 June 2015Rancho Mirage, California, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameDaniel Patrick Macnee
Nicknames Patty Nee
Pat
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

British actor Patrick Macnee was born on February 6, 1922 in London, England into a wealthy and eccentric family. His father, Daniel Macnee, was a race horse trainer, who drank and gambled away the family fortune, leaving young Patrick to be raised by his gay mother, Dorothea Mary, and her lover. Shortly after graduating from Eton (from which he was almost expelled for running a gambling ring), Macnee first appeared on stage and made his film debut as an extra in Pygmalion (1938). His career was interrupted by World War II, during which he served in the Royal Navy. After military service, Macnee attended the Webber Douglas School of Dramatic Art in London on scholarship. He also resumed his stage and film career, with bit parts such as Young Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol (1951). Disappointed with his limited roles, Macnee left England for Canada and the United States.

In 1954, he went to Broadway with an Old Vic troupe and later moved on to Hollywood, where he made occasional television and film appearances until returning to England in 1959. Once back home, he took advantage of his producing experience in Canada to become coproducer of the British television series Winston Churchill: The Valiant Years (1960). Shortly thereafter, Macnee landed the role that brought him worldwide fame and popularity in the part of John Steed, in the classic British television series The Avengers (1961). His close identification with this character limited his career choices after the cancellation of the series in 1969, prompting him to reprise the role in The New Avengers (1976), which, though popular, failed to recapture the magic of the original series. During the 1980s and 1990s, Macnee became a familiar face on American television in such series as Gavilan (1982), Empire (1984), Thunder in Paradise (1994) and NightMan (1997). In the past decade, Macnee has also made several audio recordings of book fiction.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Lyn Hammond

Spouse (3)

Baba Majos de Nagyzsenye (25 February 1988 - 10 July 2007) (her death)
Katherine Woodville (29 March 1965 - 1969) (divorced)
Barbara Douglas (November 1942 - 1956) (divorced) (2 children)

Trade Mark (1)

Chilly but mellifluous voice, often used to menacing effect

Trivia (16)

Became a United States citizen in 1959. In addition to his acting career, Macnee worked as a television producer in Britain, the United States and Canada. He is considered to be one of the pioneers of Canadian television.
Has two children from his first marriage to Barbara Douglas: Rupert Macnee and Jenny Macnee.
He was born to a wealthy and extraordinarily eccentric family. As his father (Daniel Macnee), a race horse trainer, drank and gambled the family's money away, his mother (Dorothea Mary Henry) took young Patrick to live with her lover, Evelyn, in a huge mansion in southern England, where he wore kilts until the age of 11.
During his run on The Avengers (1961), Macnee's only weapon was an umbrella sword; he was rarely if ever seen carrying or using a gun. Macnee has stated in interviews that he insisted on this, because he had seen enough carnage in combat during his military service in World War II.
He was forced to retire from acting due to problems with arthritis, but could still do voiceover work.
Was expelled from Eton for bookmaking.
He was the last surviving cast member of Hamlet (1948).
Has played the role of Algernon Moncrieff in three different television productions of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest".
Was considered for the roles of Dr. Hans Fallada, Sir Percy Heseltine and Dr. Armstrong in the science fiction horror film Lifeforce (1985).
Best known by the public for his starring role as Secret Agent John Steed on The Avengers (1961).
Has retired to Palm Springs, California where he has lived for some time. [November 2012]
Acting mentor and friends with Diana Rigg.
Played a knighted character various times; Sir Percy in Les Girls (1957), Sir John Raleigh in The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Fifteen Years Later Affair (1983), Sir Denis Eton-Hogg in This Is Spinal Tap (1984), Sir Godfrey Tibbett in A View to a Kill (1985), Sir Cyril Landau in Shadey (1985), Sir Geoffrey Rimbatten in Lime Street (1985), Sir Wilfred in Waxwork (1988) and Waxwork II: Lost in Time (1992), Sir Colin in The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw (1991), and Sir Thomas Matthews in Family Law (1999).
He is one of three main avengers (the others being Honor Blackman and Diana Rigg) to appear in a "James Bond' film. He played "Sir Godfrey Tibbett" in A View to a Kill (1985).
For many years he smoked 80 cigarettes a day and drank a bottle of Scotch whisky every night. He was forced to give up drinking after being diagnosed with liver disease in the mid-1980s.
His ashes are buried at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California.

Personal Quotes (12)

[on Linda Thorson] I would have liked her to learn how to act. It was going from a very great height. If you listen to her, you can never hear the end of a sentence. You'd never catch Diana Rigg, not being able to hear what she said.
[on the film version of Sleuth (1972)] It's bad because you really can't make a film with only two people in it. Let me put it another way: a suspense film with only two people in it. Particularly when they didn't take the trouble to make Michael Caine look unrecognizable. Immediately after they put his first close-up on, you knew it was Michael Caine. Doesn't that ruin the whole point?
[on Bond novels] The books are written completely on the basis of Ian Fleming, who was a sadomasochist.
[on Citizen Kane (1941)] It isn't that great, anyway. And Orson Welles I knew well, of course. He made other incredible films that no one would let him make, which were much better than Citizen Kane, really.
[on Laurence Olivier's performance in Sleuth (1972)] The thing about Olivier, he was too big, you see? He was trying to be a little like that man should be, which is a little sort of upper class, probably a repressed homosexual. I think that the wife obviously led him a pretty dance. Olivier missed all of these points. I was rather good at that because I was able to get all of the subtlety out of the fact that he must have had a miserable life with the wife because he was a closet queen, you know?
[on Patrick McGoohan] Pat is one of the best actors there's ever been. Trouble was, he drank. So it limited his career.
[on the danger of being typecast] I know the part of Steed was created for me, and it was developed from my own background and personality, but I'm still a long way from being typecast. I suppose, though, that you could describe me as an unashamed romantic. I really think I'd have enjoyed the life of a Regency buck.
I loved Ingrid Bergman. I sat and saw her on the stage in a theater in the round. I'm looking at an armchair, which from where I'm sitting now is about 2 foot (away). I saw in this circular theater in Chichester in a play by Somerset Maugham, Ingrid Bergman with a dress on which was her naked back down to just before her buttocks, you know? And I could reach out and touch them if I wanted to. That's probably the most erotic thing I've ever seen in my life - Ingrid Bergman walking around in a theater-in-the-round in a backless dress, not long before she died.
[on Alec Guinness] The whole thing about Guinness was, of course, was that he was a closet - but not all that closet - homosexual. There's so much of all that coming out, as though it makes a difference to their talent - which it basically doesn't. But Guinness had a problem, because most people thought he was heterosexual - because he was married and had a son - but basically he was homosexual. So many people have had that, what they call "problem".
In the year 1960, which I think was when the Bond films started, somebody said, when I was in Canada, when I was preparing to do The Avengers (1961), they said, "Will you read the Bond stories by Ian Fleming to get an idea of your character?". And I read it and said, "I would like to play, and in fact, I will not be in the show at all unless I can play, the part completely opposite to James Bond." I find James Bond repulsive, sadistic and, of course, we now read the life of Ian Fleming and realize that he liked smacking women's bottoms more than anything else. Just read it.
[on the screenwriters of The Avengers (1961)] There was no good writing, there was no clever dialogue. Di [Diana] Rigg and I used to write all our scenes because it was so badly written. They were written as rather ordinary thrillers, to be honest. The writers chose very clever topics, like having a robot man way before people thought of robots, etc. But what we really did, and I say 'we' advisedly, was to see what would happen if we took these perfectly straight stories and then made them ever so slightly ludicrous - because we thought that life was ludicrous anyway, which it is! To stay alive and all, you have to be slightly mad - but you also had to be basically cool. We used that, we tilted it a bit, we made it funny and the show worked.
[on the possibility of an Avengers movie, 1984 interview] Brian Clemens produced such a bad script for it two years ago that CBS turned it down. I think other people are keen to do so. But I wouldn't be keen to do it, no. That was a thing of its time, it was a thing of the '60s and we were ahead of our time. It was lovely then, but now I say let's do something in the '80s that is ahead of its time. If I'm going to do a series, I want it to be new.

Salary (1)

Police Surgeon (1960) £150 a week

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