Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I hate when my intuitions prove true.

I woke up to find these news items from my brother:

By Robin Stringer
Jan. 14 (Bloomberg)
-- Patrick McGoohan, the Emmy-winning actor who created and starred in the surreal British television drama “The Prisoner” in the 1960s, has died. He was 80.

McGoohan died yesterday in Los Angeles after a short illness, the Associated Press reported, citing his son-in-law, the film producer Cleve Landsberg.

In “The Prisoner,” McGoohan’s character -- known only as No. 6 -- was a former spy trying to escape from a seemingly bucolic village. The show achieved cult status in the U.K. and the U.S. mainly because of its symbolism and the ambiguity in its storylines.

“The Prisoner is considered by some critics to be television’s first masterpiece, the most brilliant television series ever produced,” the Chicago-based Museum of Broadcast Communications says on its Web site. “It is continually rebroadcast, usually presented as a science fiction program, though it is probably best described as a spy series filled with technological gadgetry.”

McGoohan won two Emmy awards for appearances on the “Columbo” NBC-TV detective television series. He directed several episodes, appearing in four of them as different murderers, according to the Web site.

The actor was born in New York in 1928, and his family moved to Ireland when he was a child. His first roles came on stage with an English theater group.

He came to the attention of the wider television audience when he was chosen for the starring role in the British spy series “Danger Man” in 1960. The series also became a hit in the U.S., where it was called “Secret Agent.”

McGoohan was involved in recent years in the preproduction work for a remake of “The Prisoner” by the AMC cable network. Jim Caviezel will play McGoohan’s original role, with Ian McKellen as his foil.McGoohan was married to Joan Drummond and has three children, five grandchildren and a grandson, according to

By ANDREW DALTON Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Patrick McGoohan, the Emmy-winning actor who created and starred in the cult classic television show “The Prisoner,” has died. He was 80.

McGoohan died Tuesday in Los Angeles after a short illness, his son-in-law, film producer Cleve Landsberg, said.McGoohan won two Emmys for his work on the Peter Falk detective drama “Columbo,” and more recently appeared as King Edward Longshanks in the 1995 Mel Gibson film “Braveheart.”

But he was most famous as the character known only as Number Six in “The Prisoner,” a sci-fi tinged 1960s British series in which a former spy is held captive in a small enclave known only as The Village, where a mysterious authority named Number One constantly prevents his escape.

McGoohan came up with the concept and wrote and directed several episodes of the show, which has kept a devoted following in the United States and Europe for four decades.

Born in New York on March 19, 1928, McGoohan was raised in England and Ireland, where his family moved shortly after his birth. He had a busy stage career before moving to television, and won a London Drama Critics Award for playing the title role in the Henrik Ibsen play “Brand.”

He married stage actress Joan Drummond in 1951. The oldest of their three daughters, Catherine, is also an actress.

His first foray into TV was in 1964 in the series “Danger Man,” a more straightforward spy show that initially lasted just one season but was later brought back for three more when its popularity — and McGoohan's — exploded in reruns.W

eary of playing the show's lead John Drake, McGoohan pitched to producers the surreal and cerebral “The Prisoner” to give himself a challenge.

The series ran just one season and 17 episodes in 1967, but its cultural impact remains.

He voiced his Number Six character in an episode of “The Simpsons” in 2000. The show is being remade as a series for AMC that premieres later this year.

“His creation of 'The Prisoner' made an indelible mark on the sci-fi, fantasy and political thriller genres, creating one of the most iconic characters of all time,” AMC said in a statement Wednesday. “AMC hopes to honor his legacy in our re-imagining of 'The Prisoner.”'

Later came smaller roles in film and television. McGoohan won Emmys for guest spots on Columbo” 16 years apart, in 1974 and 1990.

He also appeared as a warden in the 1979 Clint Eastwood film “Escape from Alcatraz” and as a judge in the 1996 John Grisham courtroom drama “A Time To Kill.”

His last major role was in “Braveheart,” in what The Associated Press called a “standout” performance as the brutal king who battles Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace, played by Gibson.

In his review of the film for the Los Angeles Times critic Peter Rainer said “McGoohan is in possession of perhaps the most villainous enunciation in the history of acting.”

McGoohan is survived by his wife and three daughters.
———Associated Press writer Solvej Schou contributed to this story.

And as I logged in to Blogger, I see Bill Crider is reporting that Ricardo Montalban has also died. Man.... Khaaaaaaaannnnn!

I'm reporting now from a remote Toobworld Central outpost, but should be home by tomorrow. At that time I'll have more to say about the impact on the TV universe by both of these men.

A sad day for Toobworld......

Toby O'B

1 comment:

Terence Towles Canote said...

I just finished eulogising him on my blog. Needless to say, his death has hit me like a ton of bricks. He was one of my favourite actors of all time.

Ricardo Montalban has also passed. I intend to eulogise him tomorrow.