"The Prisoner" star Patrick McGoohan dead at 80

Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:26pm EST
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article
[-] Text [+]

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Patrick McGoohan, a British television star in the 1950s and 1960s best known for two shows that crossed over to American TV, "Secret Agent" and "The Prisoner," has died at age 80, his agent said on Wednesday.

McGoohan, born in New York City but raised in Ireland and England, was in the midst of restarting his career with two recent film offers but died on Tuesday at his Los Angeles home after a short illness, agent Sharif Ali told Reuters.

"He was vital," Ali said. "It wasn't like he was out to pasture at all. He was busy right up until the end."

Often cast in roles as angry or evil, McGoohan won two Emmy Awards for his guest appearances as a villain on the television detective series "Columbo" and gave a memorable performance as the ruthless King Edward "Longshanks" in the Oscar-winning film "Braveheart," starring Mel Gibson.

McGoohan first made his name in Britain, where he starred as the brainy spy John Drake in the espionage show "Danger Man," which ran for three years in Britain and was imported to the United States as "Secret Agent."

The series lasted just one season on U.S. television, but its theme song, "Secret Agent Man," recorded by Johnny Rivers, became a hit.

After quitting "Danger Man," McGoohan created, produced and starred in the more cerebral British series, "The Prisoner," playing a former spy, known only as Number 6, held captive in a bucolic but brutal prison colony for people who know too much.

The show ran for just 17 original episodes on U.S. television but endures as a cult classic that was even spoofed on "The Simpsons."

McGoohan's other film credits include roles as a mysterious agent in "Ice Station Zebra," the warden in "Escape from Alcatraz," a scientist in "Scanners" and Judge Omar Noose in "A Time to Kill."

 
<p>Actor Patrick McGoohan poses in this undated publicity photo graph released to Reuters January 14, 2008. McGoohan, a leading British television star in the 1950s and '60s best known for two shows that crossed over to American TV, "Secret Agent" and "The Prisoner," has died at age 80, his agent said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Aimee Entertainment Agency/Handout</p>