Patrick Macnee (1922-2015)

Avengers actor Patrick Macnee has died at the age of 93.

Macnee was an actor whose enduring image was that of a suave, well dressed man in suit, bowler hat and umbrella, and always with impeccable manners and witty demeanour but also with a slightly mysterious air.

His most famous role was as John Steed in the British 1960s fantasy television show The Avengers which ran from 1961 to 1969.

Steed was actually the sidekick in the first season of The Avengers to Dr David Keel (played by Ian Hendry who left the show after just one year).

It was then decided that Steed should become the leading man and a succession of co-stars most notably from Cathy Gale (played by Honor Blackman), through Emma Peel (played by Diana Rigg), and finally to Tara King (played by Linda Thorson) joined Steed.

Macnee reprised the role of Steed in 1976 in The New Avengers and also appeared as Sir Godfrey Tibbett in Roger Moore’s final James Bond movie: A View to A Kill (1985).

As with the loss of another contemporary less than a month ago, Sir Christopher Lee, Sir Roger Moore responded to the sad news with a tribute on Twitter.

Macnee was only the third Avengers main cast member to appear in a Bond film after Honor Blackman played Pussy Galore in Goldfinger (1963).

Steed soon made a quintessentially British and knowing gag when receiving Christmas cards in one black and white episode of the Avengers with Mrs Peel, when he remarked on how unusual it was for Mrs Gale to be in Fort Knox – an obvious allusion to Goldfinger.

His second and most iconic female Avengers co-star, Diana Rigg, played Teresa Draco in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) and married Bond at the conclusion of the film before being assassinated by Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

Joanna Lumley, also a co-star of Macnee’s in The New Avengers, had a small role in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Macnee also made many appearances on television and film over the years. Two of his most famous cult roles were as Dr. George Waggner in The Howing (1981) and as Sir Denis Eton-Hogg in This is Spinal Tap (1984).

And one other little known fact about him is that he appeared in the official music video for Oasis’ song Don’t Look Back in Anger as well as in archive clips in The Pretenders’ Don’t Get Me Wrong.