Actor Patrick Macnee, best known for his role as John Steed in the 60s TV favourite The Avengers, has died aged 93.According to his official website Patrick passed away on Thursday at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, surrounded by family.His son Rupert said that he died of natural causes.
The Riverside Country Coroner’s office in California also confirmed his death, news tweeted by BBC Arts correspondent David Sillito:
Despite initial suggestions that the story might be a hoax, fans quickly flocked to Twitter to pay tribute to the actor many described as ‘the quintessential English gentleman':
Patrick, who was born in Paddington, London in February 1922, made his film debut as an extra in 1948’s adaptation of Hamlet, and had supporting roles in a string of films throughout the 1950s.
However it was The Avengers – which ran for almost the whole of the 1960s – which made him a household name.
The first series of the show, which aired in 1961, saw Patrick’s character John Steed playing assistant to Dr David Keel, played by Ian Hendry.
However the bowler-hatted secret agent took centre stage from series two onwards, appearing alongside a succession of female sidekicks including Honor Blackman, Linda Thorson and Diana Rigg as arguably his most famous assistant Emma Peel.
The original series came to an end in 1969 but Patrick reprised the role in 1976-77 spin-off The New Avengers, which also starred Joanna Lumley and Gareth Hunt.
Patrick, who became a US citizen in 1959, continued to work steadily after The Avengers, showing up in the likes of 1981 horror hit The Howling, cult comedy This Is Spinal Tap and Bond movie A View To A Kill in which he played 007’s ally Sir Godfrey Tibbett.He also showed up in the 1998 film version of The Avengers, which starred Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman as John Steed and Emma Peel.And of course you may well remember him from his appearance in Oasis’ video for Don’t Look Back In Anger:
Patrick was married three times and had two children, Rupert and Jenny, from his first marriage to Barbara Douglas.