Patrick Joseph McGoohan (March 19, 1928 – January 13, 2009) was a two-time Emmy winning Irish American actor, raised in Ireland and England, who rose to fame in the British film and TV industry by starring in the 1960s television series Danger Man (renamed Secret Agent [Man] in the US) and the cult classic The Prisoner.
He wrote, directed, produced and acted in many episodes of THE PRISONER.
When he wanted to quit DANGER MAN, he agreed to a new contract if there was no kissing. Offered the part of THE SAINT on TV and JAMES BOND in the movies, it is also rumored he turned down the parts on similar strict moral grounds. It seems that he embraced off screen the same self-determination and freedom that he fought for on THE PRISONER.
McGoohan died January 13, 2009, age 80, at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California after a brief illness.
At the time of his death, McGoohan was living in Los Angeles with his wife of 57 years, Joan Drummond McGoohan. He had three daughters and five grandchildren.
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE:
LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Irish actor Patrick McGoohan, best known to television audiences for his title roles in the 1960s’ CBS drama series “Secret Agent” and “The Prisoner,” died Jan. 13 in Los Angeles. He was 80 years old. Funeral arrangements for the actor were not announced. McGoohan, a Catholic, introduced himself as “Drake. John Drake” in the style of James Bond for the series “Secret Agent.” But that’s where the comparison ended. While the Bond character was — and remains — quite the womanizer, McGoohan said his faith made him resist having his Drake character fall into the same lifestyle as Bond. The series debuted in England under the name “Danger Man.” It was picked up for U.S. viewers with a new title, which was buttressed by the theme song, “Secret Agent Man,” a version of which became a top pop hit for singer Johnny Rivers.
FIRST POST, UK:
The son of an Irish farmer, he was born in Long Island, New York and raised in England and Ireland. He entered acting after a brief flirtation with becoming a Roman Catholic priest and managing a chicken farm. After some success on the stage and a few television roles, he landed the part that put him on the road to success, Danger Man, in which he played secret service agent John Drake.
This became a hit in the US and he was offered the part of James Bond off the back of it, but instead persuaded Lew Grade, head of Associated Television, to commission The Prisoner, a surreal mixture of spy thriller and science fiction which was first screened in 1967.
Number Six spends the entire series attempting to escape from The Village – Portmeirion in Wales – and trying to find out the identity of his captor, the elusive Number Two. As he frantically explores his environment, he discovers that its inhabitants are identified by number instead of by name and have no memory of a prior existence or outside civilisation. He repeatedly declares: “I am not a number – I am a free man!”
He won two Emmy Awards for separate guest-starring roles on “Columbo” in 1975 and 1990. He played four different murderers in episodes of the long-running series, more than any other actor; directed three of the episodes; and became a close friend of Peter Falk, the actor who played Columbo on television.