Actor Patrick Macnee who became world-famous in the role of John Steed in the British television series The Avengers has died. Macnee passed away from natural causes with his family at his bedside in his home in Rancho Mirage, California. He was 93.
Macnee thrilled audiences from 1961-1969 as the main character on the show wearing a bowler and carrying his distinctive umbrella. The character never carried a firearm.
“Wherever he went, he left behind a trove of memories,” a statement on the actor’s website read. “Patrick Macnee was a popular figure in the television industry. He was at home wherever in the world he found himself. He had a knack for making friends, and keeping them.”
The Avengers initially focused on Dr. David Keel (Ian Hendry) and his assistant John Steed (Macnee.) Hendry left after the first season and Steed became the main character, partnered with a succession of assistants. Steed’s most famous assistants were intelligent, stylish and assertive women: Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman,) Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) and later Tara King (Linda Thorson.) Later episodes increasingly incorporated elements of science fiction, fantasy, parody and British eccentricity. The show was reprised in the 1970s with Joanna Lumley as his new assistant. The original Avengers television series is still broadcast all over the world.
Macnee made guest appearances on such television shows as Battlestar Galactica, Frasier, The Littlest Hobo, Murder, She Wrote, Thunder in Paradise, Spy Game, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, and many, many other shows. His film credits include: Hamlet with SirLaurence Olivier, 1951’s A Christmas Carol, The Howling, This is Spinal Tap and the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill.
Macnee is survived by his son Rupert and daughter Jenny as well as a grandson.