Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tribute: Patrick Macnee (1922 - 2015)

I have been writing far too many posts like this lately.

The press is now reporting that the great and dignified Patrick Macnee has passed away at the age of 93.

For generations, Mr. Macnee has been a staple of science fiction and television.  He is most well-known for playing John Steed in The Avengers (1961 - 1969) and The New Avengers (1976-1977). 

Mr Macnee's performances in that role have made him an icon in the genre. He cut a dashing figure, and helped to launch the spy/secret agent craze of the sixties.

But, that one role doesn't tell the whole story of Macnee's career, either. 

Mr. Macnee had significant guest-starring roles on series such as The Twilight Zone ("Judgment Night,") One Step Beyond ("Night of April 14") and Rod Serling's Night Gallery ("Logoda's Heads").   

Sci-fans also love him for his vocal performances on Battlestar Galactica as the Cylon's Imperious Leader, and for his turn as the devilish Count Iblis in the two-parter "War of the Gods."

In the 1990s, Macnee appeared on the pilot of Glen A. Larson's  superhero series Nightman (1997 - 1999).

Macnee was always a welcome presence in horror films as well, appearing in such classics as Joe Dante's The Howling (1981) and 1988's pastiche, Waxworks.

In 1985, Macnee followed fellow Avengers stars Diana Rigg and Honor Blackman by appearing in a James Bond film.  He co-starred with Roger Moore in A View to a Kill (1985). And in This is Spinal Tap (1984), he was Sir Eton Hogg, head of Polymer Recrods.

The thought of losing Patrick Macnee the same one week duration, essentially, as Christopher Lee and James Horner is too much to bear. I have always admired Macnee's performances because he could play refined and urbane...or absolutely diabolical.

Now those performances -- the yin and yang of Patrick Macnee -- will exist for future generations to discover and admire, making the actor as immortal as John Steed is.


  1. R.I.P. Patrick Macnee

    Well said John.


  2. SteveW8:47 PM

    So sad to hear this. I grew up on "The Avengers" and went on to hook my kids on it, and with all due respect for his other work, the fact is that he is simply forever and always John Steed. Even Ralph Fiennes (the Steed of the movie version, and a far better actor overall) couldn't make a dent MacNee's ownership of that role. Effortlessly charming, with a humor and warmth that never veered into smugness, he was the perfect gentleman secret agent.

    1. Agree, so true. He will always be Steed.


  3. Sad news again, I'm having trouble getting over BB King passing recently too. Loved The Avengers. In fact even now whenever something comes up about the Marvel Comics Avengers I always automatically perk my ears up because I initially thing it's about the Macnee/Blackman/Rigg show. As a kid I was seriously entranced by the eeriness of the Count Iblis and Ship of Lights story arc on Battlestar Galactica too.

    This reminds me that someday I should watch Lobster Man From Mars.