Patrick McGoohan, best known for his role as Number 6 in the cult classic TV series The Prisoner and as King Edward I of England in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, has died after a brief, undisclosed illness.
Patrick McGoohan, a British actor, first became known to American audiences in his role of John Drake, the dour, ethical British spy in the series Secret Agent (known as Danger Man across the Atlantic.) John Drake was a kind of anti James Bond, refusing to carry a gun, using his wits rather than brute force to solve problems. The tone of Secret Agent was also decidedly more downbeat than the James Bond series, as illustrated by the lyrics of the show’s theme song.
“There’s a man who leads a life of danger
To everyone he meets he stays a stranger
With every move he makes another chance he takes
Odds are he won’t live to see tomorrow
“Secret agent man, secret agent man
They’ve given you a number and taken away your name,”
Ironically Patrick McGooham turned down the chance to be Sean Connery’s replacement as James Bond to star in a series called The Prisoner. In The Prisoner, Patrick McGoohan is known as Number 6 and it is established that he resigned in anger from an unknown spy agency. Number 6 is being held prisoner in a place known as The Village with apparently a group of other retired spies whom the powers that be deem to dangerous to be kept at liberty A series of people known as Number 2 attempted to torture, trick, or otherwise obtain the reason by Number 6 resigned. Number 6 stubbornly refuses to divulge that information, while trying to escape from The Village.
The Prisoner was considered ground breaking at the time in its stylishness and its depiction of paranoia and intrigue. The Prisoner is being remade for the 21st Century and will star Ian McKellan as Number 2 and James Caviezel as Number 6, depicted in this version as an American.
Patrick McGoohan went on to appear in a variety of films and TV shows including Silver Streak, The Phantom, and the Columbo series in which he often appeared as a guest murder suspect as well as doing duties as director and producer. Patrick McGooham even reprised his role as Number 6 in an episode of The Simpsons, in which Bart finds himself in The Village and escapes with the help of Number 6.
Patrick McGoohan’s most famous film role was that of King Edward I of England in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, described as a biop of the Scottish hero William Wallace, but in fact a film whose relationship to history was often only accidental. Nevertheless Patrick McGoohan chewed scenery with great zest as the film’s main villain, stealing the show, in effect, from the more earnest portrayal of the hero by Mel Gibson.
Patrick McGoohan is survived by his wife of fifty seven years, three daughters, five grandchildren, a great grandson, and friends and fans without number. Be seeing you.
Source: Prisoner Star Patrick McGoohan Dead, Josh Grossberg, E! Online, January 14th, 2009