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Patrick Macnee Dies: Stylish 'Avengers' Star in '60s Was 93

Image: Patrick Macnee Dies: Stylish 'Avengers' Star in '60s Was 93
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By    |   Friday, 26 Jun 2015 09:28 AM

Patrick Macnee, best known as the weaponized umbrella-wielding John Steed in the 1960s British television series "The Avengers," died on Thursday at his home in Rancho Mirage, California. He was 93.

Macnee was paired first with Honor Blackman and more notably by Diana Rigg's Mrs. Peel in the show that ran from 1961 to 1969. "The Avengers" series was nominated for four Emmy Awards during its run.

 


His John Sneed character was described as "charmingly elegant, quintessentially English, and slightly mysterious," according to Macnee's website, which posted his obituary. "The pioneering television series aired throughout the 1960s, and 'The Avengers' became known for its progressive approach to feminism, the female stars being more than a match for Steed…and a plethora of 'diabolical master minds.'"

Born in London, Macnee was preparatory school classmates with another actor, Christopher Lee, and starred in a production of "Henry V" with him, reported the New York Times. After appearing in a handful of London stage productions, he joined the Royal Navy in 1941.

After leaving leaving the Navy as a lieutenant, he acted for 15 years before settling in the United States, becoming an American citizen and then a household name in "The Avengers."

"The Avengers" found a new audience when reruns started playing on the A&E network in 1990, noted the Los Angeles Times.

"As Steed-Peel, Macnee-Rigg was arguably the best, freshest, most-appealing evil-fighting pair ever to fill the small screen, their playfulness approaching the blithely carefree and cheeky banter of William Powell and Myrna Loy as Dashiell Hammett's Nick and Nora Charles," Los Angeles Times TV critic Howard Rosenberg said about the series.

After "The Avengers," Macnee played the lead role in "Sleuth" on Broadway in 1972 and as an undercover senior government official in the 1985 James Bond movie "A View to a Kill."

He said, though, that he always enjoyed being connected to the 1960s series.

"Oh, it's splendid," Macnee was quoted as saying in a 1982 Newhouse News Service interview. "With my sort of global career, as one works here and there, it's a passport to identification. That, of course, is just what an actor wants."

 


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Patrick Macnee, best known as the weaponized umbrella-wielding John Steed in the 1960s British television series "The Avengers," died on Thursday at his home in Rancho Mirage, California. He was 93.
patrick macnee, dies, avengers
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2015-28-26
Friday, 26 Jun 2015 09:28 AM
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