British actor Patrick Macnee barely had time to earn his Eton school tie when he began training for his career on a scholarship to the Webber Douglas School of Dramatic Art. While serving with the Royal Navy during World War II, Macnee made his first film appearance with a small role in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943). He continued essaying such featured roles as Young Marley in the 1951 Christmas Carol before coming to Broadway with the Old Vic troupe in 1954. He decided to stay in Hollywood a while, appearing in several TV shows and such films as Les Girls (1957). He would later describe most of his roles during this period as "villainy in a tri-corner hat." In 1960, Macnee traded his period duds for a bowler and three-piece suit when he began his long run as sophisticated secret agent John Steed on the British TV series The Avengers (incidentally, the murder that Macnee was "avenging" in the early episodes was that of a woman played by his then-wife Kate Woodville). He remained the one permanent fixture on The Avengers until its demise in 1968, appearing opposite three different jumpsuit-clad leading ladies: Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg and Linda Thorson. Macnee also showed up as a supervisor of sort in the 1977 "retro" series The New Avengers, leaving the karate and gunplay to Joanna Lumley and Gareth Hunt. In America, Patrick Macnee appeared regularly on the TV series Gavilan (1982), Empire (1984), and Lightning Force (1991). Macnee continued working through the 2000s, including a voice appearance in the 1998 Avengers movie. Patrick Macnee passed away in 2015, at age 93.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- His father trained racehorses; his mother was a niece of the Earl of Huntingdon.
- Was a classmate of actor Christopher Lee at boarding school; the two died within a couple of weeks of each other in June 2015.
- Was expelled from college for being a bookie.
- Served during WWII in the Royal Navy.
- Became a U.S. citizen in 1959.
- His 1964 song "Kinky Boots" (recorded with actress Honor Blackman) became a top 10 British single in 1990.
- Appeared in The Pretenders video "Don't Get Me Wrong" and in the Oasis video "Don't Look Back in Anger."
- Authored an autobiography (Blind in One Ear) and several books about his TV series The Avengers.