Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Prisoner Escapes

More sad news, this coming from the Los Angeles Times:
Patrick McGoohan, an Emmy Award-winning actor who starred as a British spy in the 1960s TV series “Secret Agent” and “The Prisoner” and was known for playing various villainous roles in films and on television, has died. He was 80.

McGoohan died peacefully Tuesday in St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica after a short illness, said Cleve Landsberg, McGoohan's son-in-law. The family did not provide further details.

It was the height of James Bond mania in 1965 when McGoohan showed up on American TV screens in “Secret Agent,” a British-produced series in which he played John Drake, a special security agent working as a spy for the British government.The hour-long series, which ran on CBS until 1966, was an expanded version of “Danger Man,” a short-lived, half-hour series on CBS in 1961 in which McGoohan played the same character.

But it was McGoohan’s next British-produced series, “The Prisoner,” on CBS in 1968 and 1969, that became a cult classic.
The full LAT piece can be found here (and I expect more to come from that paper). Britain’s Daily Mail has its own obituary here.

Like many others, I probably remember McGoohan best for his four appearances (a record) on Columbo, co-starring with his longtime friend Peter Falk. For his work on that series, McGoohan picked up two Emmys, in 1975 and 1990. I was pretty young when The Prisoner ran, so I didn’t see it the first time around, and I haven’t taken the opportunity to watch it since. However, McGoohan’s demise today reminds me that AMC has recently posted full episodes of that series at its Web site. Perhaps it’s time to go watch some.

For nostalgic folk, here’s the opening sequence to The Prisoner:

An extended clip from Danger Man can be viewed here.

READ MORE:The Prisoner Reboots Panopticon for 21st Century,” by Scott Thill (Wired); “Patrick McGoohan,” by Martin Edwards (Do You Write Under Your Own Name?); “I Am Not a Number … I Am a Free Man,” by Ivan G. Shreve Jr. (Thrilling Days of Yesteryear); “R.I.P., Patrick McGoohan,” by Tanner (Double O Section).

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