January 2, 2017


Patrick McGoohan (1928-2009) b. Astoria, Queens, New York, USA .

Patrick McGoohan

Patrick McGoohan was an accomplished stage actor, screenwriter and director born in 1928 in New York. He was taken to Ireland by his Irish parents shortly after and seven years later the family settled in Sheffield. He later won a scholarship to Ratcliffe College in Leicester, and after leaving school at 16, he worked in a rope factory, a chicken farm, as a bank clerk, a lorry driver and a stage manager at the Sheffield Repertory Theatre. Whilst with the Rep he tied the knot with actress Joan Drummond in 1951 between a matinee and evening performance of The Taming of the Shrew, in which they were starring. He was offered a five-year contract with Rank but contract petered out after four films; one of which was the popular Cy Endfield crime-drama Hell Drivers (1957).

Soon he was starring in the West End, impressing critics with his angry young man persona, and landing roles such as the priest accused of being gay in Serious Charge and Henry V at the Old Vic. McGoohan subsequently turned more towards television, notably in the form of ATV chief Lew Grade who in 1960 offered him the lead role of British Secret Agent John Drake in a spy show to be called Danger Man. In 1967 he came up with the idea for The Prisoner and presented it to Lew Grade. There were only ever 17 episodes of The Prisoner made between 1967 and 1968 – but they were enough to create a cult phenomenon and typecast Patrick McGoohan forever with the role of the mysterious Number Six in the surreal TV series.

After a short stay in Switzerland, he relocated to Hollywood in 1973, starred in and directed episodes of Columbo. Often regarded as difficult to work with, his big-screen roles included Ice Station Zebra (1968), a memorably chilling warden in Escape from Alcatraz (1979), the devilish King Edward ‘Longshanks’ in Mel Gibson’s Academy Award-winning Braveheart (1995) and a judge in the courtroom drama A Time to Kill (1996). His last big role was as. McGoohan’s last role came in 2002, as a voice artist in animated picture Treasure Planet.

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