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Thursday, 25 June 2015

Avengers star Patrick Macnee dies

BBC News

 Gareth Hunt, Joanna Lumley, Patrick MacNee

Patrick Macnee reprised his John Steed role for The New Avengers TV series, starring alongside Joanna Lumley and Gareth Hunt
Actor Patrick Macnee, star of The Avengers TV series, has died in California at the age of 93.

The Briton, best known for playing John Steed in the 1960s television spy series, died at home with his family at his bedside, his son Rupert said.

Macnee also played roles in theatre, appearing on Broadway, and served in the Royal Navy during World War Two.

A statement on the actor's website read: "Wherever he went, he left behind a trove of memories."
He died peacefully at his home in California's Rancho Mirage on Thursday, Rupert said.

James Bond ally

Born in London, Macnee grew up in Berkshire and was educated at Summerfields Preparatory School and Eton.

At the age of 11, he acted in Henry V opposite a young Sir Christopher Lee. He first appeared in the West End while still in his teens.

He played a number of minor roles - including one in Laurence Olivier's 1948 film version of Hamlet - before rising to fame in the original Avengers series between 1961 and 1969.

The series developed a cult following around the world, the BBC's Los Angeles reporter Peter Bowes said.

Steed was known for his dress sense, always donning a bowler hat and carrying an umbrella, which was used as a secret weapon.
nullMacnee, centre, pictured with Lumley and Hunt in 1995
Macnee returned when that series was reprised as The New Avengers in the 1970s, appearing alongside Joanna Lumley's Purdey and Gareth Hunt's Mike Gambit.

Later, he starred on Broadway in Anthony Shaffer's Sleuth, touring internationally with that play and several other productions

He also appeared in the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill, playing an ally of Roger Moore's Bond character, and made a cameo appearance as the head of a record company in This is Spinal Tap.

Sir Roger tweeted: "So very sad to hear Pat Macnee has left us.

"We were mates from 1950s and I have so many happy memories of working with him. A true gent."
Macnee featured too as a guest star in dozens of British, American and Australian TV productions.

'Ahead of their time'

In a 2014 interview with The Lady magazine, Macnee said he believed The Avengers was a success because it "did something different and did it better."

He told the magazine: "It was beautifully written, the ideas were very good, way ahead of their time and they incorporated fantasies for people who dreamed of doing exciting things."
Macnee and wife Katherine Woodville, who also appeared in The Avengers
Macnee with fellow actor Richard Burton in 1973
Macnee had two children, son Rupert and daughter Kate Woodville, and one grandson.

He was married three times, including to actress Katherine Woodville, with whom he acted in The Avengers.

He had been a US citizen since 1959, according to the AP news agency.


  1. Have you seen the colour, ( color) trailer for the 1968 series of The Avengers? He also made that lovely appearance in a later episode of Frasier, in which I think his character tried to hit on Roz. I didn't realize that he had made an appearance in The Twilight Zone. For me he will always be the immortal Steed with steel reinforced bowler. Inimitable, as the film version plainly shows.

  2. That trailer I believe, was for the US who had bought the series as we in the UK already knew about it. Colour TV really was VERY exciting in those days. Look at it now....TV...pht

    1. The first time I saw a colour television was an edition of UFO at a friends house, so possibly 1970-71. Remember that the programme listings had colour as a differentiation from those programmes in black and white? I've found it nice to wallow in nostalgia by looking at the Radio Times genome site. That was where I found that SF serial that you challenged me to find. Incidentally, back to The Avengers, I must try to locate that site with all the John Canning strips. I've just been going through the Troughton strips that you sent on disc.