Patrick MacNee, the suave English actor of Scottish descent has passed away at the age of 93. Although known for many roles that date back to 1948, Patrick MacNee was best known as the spy, John Steed on THE AVENGERS which originally ran from 1961-1969 on British television. The best years of this stylist spy drama that was uniquely British paired MacNee with the beautiful Diana Rigg. And because MacNee was so well known as a TV spy, he was eventually cast in a James Bond film, A VIEW TO A KILL, in 1985. Diana Rigg and MacNee’s first AVENGERS sidekick, Honor Blackman also cast in James Bond films over the years as well, with Diana Rigg in ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE in 1969 and Honor Blackman in GOLDFINGER in 1964.
Patrick MacNee served in the British Navy in WWII, and was a navigator on a torpedo boat, but became very ill with bronchitis and ended up in the hospital only days before the huge D Day attack. This trick of fate probably saved MacNee’s life as his ship and crew were lost in combat. As MacNee’s health improved, he stayed in the Royal Navy until 1946, becoming an officer. In 1948, he appeared in his first film, HAMLET, but later went on a major career in many films and TV shows, but mostly became known as one of the UK’s most popular spy actors as John Steed in the very long running AVENGERS TV series which was a rare worldwide British TV hit.
Patrick MacNee will always be remembered as the most popular UK spy character actor since James Bond himself…
THE AVENGERS was uniquely British, witty, real thinking man’s entertainment. If anything, William Peterson’s character on CSI and even much of the script writing seemed to capture the intelligent witty writing style of THE AVENGERS along with quirky crimes, where the crime investigation show seemed like a new incarnation of many of the successful elements of THE AVENGERS. There also was some sense of sexual tension suggested in THE AVENGERS episodes between the John Steed character and his female partners, where there was a loosely implied sense of the two sleeping over some nights. On CSI, a relationship also took place between the main characters.
Despite being one of the UK’s greatest and most recognizable actors and public figures, MacNee was actually a California resident for the past 40 years, dying at his Rancho Mirage, California home.