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Patrick McGoohan Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (3)  | Trade Mark (7)  | Trivia (55)  | Personal Quotes (46)

Overview (5)

Born in Astoria, Queens, New York City, New York, USA
Died in Santa Monica, California, USA  (illness)
Birth NamePatrick Joseph McGoohan
Nickname Pat
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Though born in America, Irish actor Patrick McGoohan rose to become the number-one British TV star in the 1950s to 1960s era. His parents moved to Ireland when he was very young and McGoohan acquired a neutral accent that sounds at home in British or American dialogue. He was an avid stage actor and performed hundreds of times in small and large productions before landing his first TV and film roles. McGoohan is one of few actors who has successfully switched between theater, TV, and films many times during his career. He was often cast in the role of Angry Young Man. In 1959, he was named Best TV Actor of the Year in Britain. Shortly thereafter, he was chosen for the starring role in the Secret Agent (1964) TV series (AKA 'Secret Agent in the US), which proved to be an immense success for three years and allowed the British to break into the burgeoning American TV market for the first time. By the series' 3rd year, McGoohan felt the series had run its course and was beginning to repeat itself. McGoohan and Lew Grade - the president of ITC (the series' production company), had agreed that McGoohan could leave Danger Man to begin work on a new series, and turned in his resignation right after the first episode of the fourth year had been filmed ("Koroshi"). McGoohan set up his own production company and collaborated with noted author and script editor George Markstein to sell a brand new concept to ITC's Lew Grade. McGoohan starred in, directed, produced, and wrote many of the episodes, sometimes taking a pseudonym to reduce the sheer number of credits to his name. Thus, the TV series The Prisoner (1967) came to revolve around the efforts of a secret agent, who resigned early in his career, to clear his name. His aim was to escape from a fancifully beautiful but psychologically brutal prison for people who know too much. The series was as popular as it was surreal and allegorical, and its mysterious final episode caused such an uproar that McGoohan was to desert England for more than 20 years to seek relative anonymity in LA, where celebrities are "a dime a dozen."

During the 1970s, he appeared in four episodes of the TV detective series "Columbo," for which he won an Emmy Award. His film roles lapsed from prominence until his powerful performance as King Edward I (Longshanks) in Mel Gibson's production of Braveheart (1995). As such, he has solidified his casting in the role of Angry Old Man.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: <sysop@hal9k.com> <UNOwen>

Family (3)

Spouse Joan Drummond (19 May 1951 - 13 January 2009)  (his death)  (3 children)
Children Catherine McGoohan
Anne McGoohan
Frances McGoohan
Parents Thomas McGoohan
Rose Fitzpatrick McGoohan

Trade Mark (7)

Gravelly smoke burnished voice
"Be seeing you", his catchphrase from The Prisoner (1967).
Almost always played monstrously arrogant, egotistical characters
Powerful vocal projection, a tremendous shouting voice
Often used pauses at inappropriate moments during a sentence, in order to make himself more unsettling to the audience. As in: "You will report to my [pause] office tomorrow for [pause] discipline."
Auburn hair and light blue eyes
Stern glare

Trivia (55)

Best known for his starring role as Number 6 in the surreal science fiction allegory series, The Prisoner (1967).
Used his real birthdate and publicity photo for the character he played ("No. 6") in the TV series The Prisoner (1967).
He was the first choice for the roles of Gandalf in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy (which went to Ian McKellen) and Dumbledore in the "Harry Potter" films (which went to Richard Harris and later to Michael Gambon after Harris' death) but turned them down.
In 1977 he was considered to replace Peter Falk as Columbo. However, McGoohan turned the part down because he was a close friend of Falk, and believed that only Falk should play Columbo. In addition he did not want to be the star of another TV series but only make guest appearances.
Appeared in three different productions with the same name: the Danger Man: The Prisoner (1960), BBC Sunday-Night Play: The Prisoner (1963), and The Prisoner (1967). Although they were all completely unrelated, the latter two had many similarities.
Father of Frances McGoohan, Catherine McGoohan and Anne McGoohan.
Played the same regular character (John Drake) in two different series of Danger Man: Danger Man (1960) and Secret Agent (1964). His The Prisoner (1967) character, Number Six, may also have been intended to be Drake (although McGoohan has always denied this while George Markstein, who co-created the series with McGoohan, continually said he was).
Directed at least one episode of all four series in which he starred: Danger Man (1960), Secret Agent (1964), The Prisoner (1967), and Rafferty (1977).
Was the title character of all four series in which he starred: Danger Man (1960) (John Drake), Secret Agent (1964) (John Drake), The Prisoner (1967) (Number Six), and Rafferty (1977) (Dr. Sid Rafferty).
Two of his most famous characters, Number Six in The Prisoner (1967) and the Warden in Escape from Alcatraz (1979), were not given names.
Reprised his The Prisoner (1967) character (Number Six) in The Simpsons: The Computer Wore Menace Shoes (2000).
Played four different murderers in four different episodes of "Columbo": Columbo: By Dawn's Early Light (1974), Columbo: Identity Crisis (1975), Columbo: Agenda for Murder (1990), and Columbo: Ashes to Ashes (1998). He also directed all of them except the first, as well as Columbo: Last Salute to the Commodore (1976) and Columbo: Murder with Too Many Notes (2000).
Turned down two roles that eventually went to Roger Moore: Simon Templar in The Saint (1962) and James Bond in Live and Let Die (1973).
His parents' names were Thomas McGoohan and Rose Fitzpatrick McGoohan.
Was the honourary president of Six of One, the official appreciation society for The Prisoner (1967), from its foundation in 1977 until his death in 2009.
Appeared in four different productions with Aubrey Morris: The Quare Fellow (1962), Secret Agent (1964) (three episodes), The Prisoner (1967), and Columbo: Ashes to Ashes (1998).
His granddaughter Sarah was born in 1976.
Liked to drink Irish whiskey at 217 bar in Santa Monica, owned by burlesque great Betty Rowland.
In his youth, considered becoming a Catholic priest.
Grew up partly in and around Sheffield, England.
The son of an Irish-born farmer, he left school at 16 to work in a rope factory. He subsequently worked on a chicken farm but had to seek other employment because of an allergy to chicken feathers that reactivated the asthma from which he had suffered in childhood. He also worked as a bank clerk at National Provincial Bank and a lorry driver before getting a job as a stage manager at Sheffield Repertory Theatre.
His first show business job, at age 19, was as a stage hand/manager with the Sheffield Repertory Theatre. At 21, he was given his first lead role in one of their productions.
For The Prisoner (1967), he sometimes used "Joseph Serf" for directing credits and "Paddy Fitz" for writing credits. "Paddy" being a nickname for "Patrick" while "Fitz" was derived from his mother's maiden name, Fitzpatrick.
As a youth he lived in the rural parish of Drumreilly in county Leitrim, Ireland. Although the house is still there, it is unlived in and in a bad state of repair.
He had five grandchildren, Sarah, Erin, Simon, Nina and Paddy.
On June 11, 2008, he became a great-grandfather to Jack Patrick Lockhart.
Along with William Shatner, Robert Culp, Jack Cassidy and George Hamilton, he is one of only five actors to play two or more unrelated murderers in episodes of Columbo (1971). He played four in total, more than anyone else - specifically Colonel Lyle C. Rumford in Columbo: By Dawn's Early Light (1974), Nelson Brenner in Columbo: Identity Crisis (1975), Oscar Finch in Columbo: Agenda for Murder (1990) and Eric Prince in Columbo: Ashes to Ashes (1998). He also directed all but the first of these.
Orson Welles was so impressed by his performance in the 1955 West End play "Serious Charge" that he cast him as Starbuck in his production of "Moby Dick Rehearsed".
He made his mark in gritty films like Hell Drivers (1957), which gave him his bad boy persona on screen.
In 1948 he worked as a a stage manager at the Sheffield Repertory.
On The Prisoner (1967), McGoohan also contributed to the writing and directing of the series.
While working as part of Sheffield Repertory, he quickly became one of its leading actors, appearing in more than 200 plays over the following four years. Further repertory work took him to Coventry and Bristol.
Was a reclusive celebrity, hardly ever giving interviews.
Retired from acting after Columbo: Ashes to Ashes (1998), returning only to provide voice-over work in Treasure Planet (2002).
Owned the rights to an audioclip that metal band Iron Maiden wanted to use in their song "The Prisoner" (1982). He gave them the permission to use it in a telephone conversation with their manager.
He died at Saint John's Health Center, Santa Monica, after a brief illness. His remains were cremated.
Irish-American.
Variety Club of Great Britain ITV personality Award for 1965 for Danger Man (1960).
He was considered for the role of Charles Shaughnessy in Ryan's Daughter (1970). His The Prisoner (1967) Leo McKern appeared as Thomas Ryan.
He was originally offered the role of Knight Two in Babylon 5: And the Sky Full of Stars (1994), but although he wanted to accept, he was unable to fit the filming into his schedule.
He was considered for the role of James Bond in Dr. No (1962) before his Hell Drivers (1957) co-star Sean Connery was cast. He turned it down due to the amount of sexual content.
Is the only Columbo (1971) guest star to have won two Emmy Awards. In fact, these were the only times he was ever nominated for an Emmy.
Was reportedly so devoted to his wife, he often refused to kiss or perform love scenes with other women in films.
He was considered for Hardy Krüger's role in Hatari! (1962).
In one scene in Ice Station Zebra (1968) he was supposed to dive into the flooded torpedo room of the nuclear sub to rescue a trapped naval officer. Being a strong swimmer he insisted on doing the scene himself rather than use a stuntman. A change was made to the script so allowing Olympic swimming champion Murray Rose, who'd been cast in another role, to do the scene with him in case anything happened. It was only after the scene was completed that Murray revealed that while he and Pat were standing up to their necks in the rising water just before the cameras rolled Pat had whispered to him "Now I've done it, my foot's stuck". Murray dived down and freed his foot which had become wedged tight in the torpedo rack.
He was originally offered the role of Dr. Ira Graves in Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Schizoid Man (1989), but turned it down. The title is a reference to The Prisoner: The Schizoid Man (1967).
He was offered the role of Dr. Alan Hewitt in Prudence and the Pill (1968).
He was considered for Abraham Whistler in Blade (1998).
Michael Powell attempted to cast him in the lead role in Sebastian (1968).
He had four younger sisters, Patricia, Kathleen, Marie and Annette.
He suffered a number of health problems during his childhood, mostly as a direct result of acute bronchial asthma.
Valued his own privacy and rarely granted interviews.
Had no desire or intention of becoming a huge movie star.
He had an intense dislike of guns, so much so that he insisted his characters in The Prisoner (1967) and Danger Man (1960 never use them with John Drake explicitly voicing a disdain for them that reflected McGoohan's own feelings.

Personal Quotes (46)

On the fact that he is mostly known as his The Prisoner (1967) character, Number Six: "Mel [Gibson] will always be Mad Max, and me, I will always be a Number."
[on Rafferty (1977)] a disaster ... the most miserable job I've ever done in my life ... a total frustration from start to finish ... The scripts [were] monstrous pieces of garbage, [with] no time to rewrite them ... There were too many people in charge and all passing the buck. I counted them. There were 11 people who thought that they were the 'creators' of this load of garbage. But you couldn't find one to take responsibility [when it failed].
The more intense the work, the happier that I am.
I always had this fascination with the man in isolation, against the bureaucracy, against society, and also I've always had the constant fear that we're becoming a numeralised society more and more, and that for the individual, the rebel, shall we say the 'arrogant individual' to survive and keep his self respect, there has to be a certain amount of fighting against the system.
They don't quite - they think there's something in the background there that needs to be dug up. That it's not true that I've been married for thirty years and that I can't have a happy family because there is a reputation that I have for being a rebel. A reputation for being arrogant.
No one is a free man, unfortunately. No man is an island. But you've jolly well got to try, though. (laughs)
Certainly I am self-conscious, trip over my own feet and so on. In company I tend to hide. Though I can get laughs onstage easily enough, I can never tell jokes in conversation.
It is unforgivable not to know your lines. [Outside acting, however] I just react to circumstances. I have few constant habits there.
If people in Hollywood want to get divorced, married, divorced, married, that's their business. Their problem. I have no problems like that.
For me there must be an edge, a tension about life. Otherwise I don't get the best out of things. I can never be content to remain still - and I am not just talking about acting. Once you say to yourself everything is very nice - that's death. I like working at high pitch. Frustration and slowness are what I loathe. They give me a real physical pain in the stomach.
I enjoy working. I like being totally absorbed. I am scared of drifting, of having nothing to do.
If my daughter were to take drugs, it would be my fault, not hers. I would not have given her the security or principles to live by, I would blame myself absolutely!
Boredom and loneliness, damaging in any circumstances, become totally destructive to those who are insecure in their private lives.
I've made many films, but most of them have been rubbish. I've rarely liked anything I've done, apart from my work as John Drake and two films I made for Walt Disney, Dr Syn and The Three Lives of Thomasina.
I abhor violence and cheap sex. I believe in romance. Casual sex destroys romance. Besides, it is my view that a hero be a good man.
I was shy, gangling and clumsy when I finished school.
[on turning down the role of James Bond] I thought there was too much emphasis on sex and violence. It has an insidious and powerful influence on children. Would you like your son to grow up like James Bond? Since I hold these views strongly as an individual and parent I didn't see how I could contribute to the very things to which I objected.
Oddly, the one thing I found I could pick up quickly, without endangering my dignity by revealing anything so despicable as trying, was maths. This small hint of promise was noticed and a year later, to everyone's delight but mine, I was selected for a free place to yet another school, the Catholic Public School, Ratcliffe College, in Leicester. The uniform lists arrived, demanding more clothes for me than the entire family possessed.
Why must our heroes die? Don't we want them? These men [the Kennedys and Martin Luther King] were heroes. They're dead - and there are no replacements.
[on his first role] [An actor fell ill] so they shoved me on. [It felt good.] But nerve-wracking. Scary. I'm always scared. It's a scary world. You have to be nervous. I don't want to be placid about my work.
She [Joan Drummond] was a glowing sunburnt-to-mahagony girl with black hair and dark eyes. I found her overwhelming and fascinating.
My father did not take to the pace of New York. He farmed in Ireland, in country Leitrim, the poorest county in Ireland. Its only export is people. He made the farm go for eight years and they emigrated again, this time to England.
Virility plus masculinity do not add up to promiscuity! In a fair fight Drake would beat Bond anytime.
I've married my first wife and my last wife!
Call me prissy Pat. A lot of old horse is being written about my attitude toward TV, but it can be summed up in a few simple words. I see TV as the third parent. It doesn't give you bulging muscles to say a four-letter word. The love life planned for John Drake would have made me some sort of sexual crank. Every week a different girl? Served up piping hot for tea? With the children and grannies watching?
When we started Danger Man the producer wanted me to carry a gun and to have an affair with a different girl each week. I refused. I am not against romance on television, but sex is the antithesis of romance. Television is a gargantuan master that all sorts of people watch at all sorts of time, and it has a moral obligation towards its audience.
I'm not a tough guy and I'm not a beast. I'm soft-hearted, gentle and understanding. I don't even beat my wife.
We've seen just about everything. The only thing left is for someone to walk about and urinate through the screen. They'd say this is just life, a documentary on urination!
I'm an insomniac. I sleep four hours maximum. I get up at 2:30 A.M. I read or write, and then I'm out of the house to walk on the beach. It's lonely then, just people with their dogs and some surfers. I walk, and talk to the dogs.
I've sometimes been accused of being difficult and edgy and complicated, but only because I want the end product to be as perfect as possible.
A man must create pressure in his working life; something to which he can respond, and must overcome.
I'm not particularly ambitious to be a film star or to earn millions. Being a film star is probably one of the most confining occupations in the world. The last word I would associate with it is "freedom". And freedom in my work and in my private life is something I have always wanted.
When an actor has a leading part, it is all the more necessary for him to be more disciplined.
As the knight Sir Oswald, with only two lines to say, I was entitled to a Rolls Royce transport between home and studio and a place in the restaurant with the hierarchy and stars - on a peasant's pay. Another actor, as the leader of the peasants, had a huge part. But because he was a 'peasant' he had to eat with the peasants and come to work under his own steam - on a knight's salary. The whole thing was ridiculous.
I certainly believe in a God, but I don't go around waving a flag about it.
I have two guiding lights before me, every second of my working day. The first is my daughters. The second, my religion. You know, every hero since Jesus Christ has been moral... Like John Drake, he fought his battles fiercely but honourably.
[on working on a chicken farm after leaving school] I was happier then than I ever had been. My idea of the good life was a bucket full of chicken meal and a couple of dozen broody hens clucking contentedly around my feet. The fact was I'd almost become like one of them. I was cock of the walk ruling my own little roost.
My father couldn't read or write, but he played the violin like an angel and he had total recall. We would read to him, he'd ask us what page we were on and days later he'd refer to the material on that page number.
I abhor the word 'star'. It makes the hair on the back of my neck want to curl up.
[on the then recently-enacted bill legalising homosexuality] Homosexuals are a fact of society. It was a progressive and very humane bill.
[shrugging off his literary efforts, despite the fact that he has written "hundreds and hundreds, probably thousands" of poems over the years] I don't really call them poetry, I call them scrambled words. It's just a positive way to start the day. [Nor is he interested in publishing his works; indeed, the suggestion makes him recoil.] They're all sort of obscure and personal.
[The Prisoner was inspired by] anyone who has ever been up against bureaucracy, in any form, or up against prejudices.
Questions are a burden to others; answers are a prison for oneself.
My father had 10 shillings in one pocket and a change of collar in the other [when he and McGoohan's mother emigrated to the US].
Doctors are important. But plumbers are even more important. And garbage collectors. If plumbers and garbage collectors go on strike, that's when we need doctors.
My wife, Joan, and I are getting remarried next Saturday. A re-affirmation. When we got married 26 years ago, over in England, we were too busy for a church ceremony. I was rehearsing for Petruchio in 'Taming of the Shrew', and Joan was playing Ophelia. I said to Joan, 'I promise you a white weddin' some time, but not now'.

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