It's weird, perhaps, to discuss actors as being "heroes," but I certainly count among my great childhood heroes men such as Roddy McDowall, Charlton Heston, William Shatner, Martin Landau and Patrick McGoohan. As a young person -- one fishing around for influences and ideas in the pop culture -- these actors, the characters they created meant a tremendous amount to me. They still do.
McGoohan really resonated with me. I suspect it was the tenacity, the hard-edge, the iron-will he regularly presented in the role of Number 6. This was a guy who -- no matter what got thrown at him - would not budge; would not break; would not surrender. He would not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, or debriefed. When McGoohan declared on The Prisoner that he was "not a number" but a "free man," you believed him.
Again, not to get hokey, but as a young man, I gazed at McGoohan's Number Six as the epitome of manhood. He couldn't be bullied. He could carry himself well...and fight well when necessary. He was popular with the ladies. His wit was razor sharp. And he stood by his beliefs. He was James Bond, but James Bond under real, continued duress...and I found that idea fascinating.
Of course, McGoohan didn't just play Number 6 on The Prisoner, he also wrote and direct several episodes of the series, so his individual stamp, is all over that timeless series. It was the role of a lifetime, to be certain, a role he owned.
I grieve the loss of Patrick McGoohan and know he will be missed. I can't help but wonder, however, if this great actor checked out of the Village at exactly the right time. So as to avoid seeing a dumbed-down remake of his legendary creation now in the production pipeline...