Patrick McGoohan, the New York-born actor of Irish farming parents who played ‘Number 6’ in the cult 1960s TV show The Prisoner, has died, aged 80. McGoohan was also co-creator of the 17-episode show, which follow the trials of a former secret agent who resigns from his job, but is kidnapped and held in a surreal, psychedelic prison called The Village from which he continual He no longer has a name, but is known as “Number 6“. Each of his escape attempts is foiled by an ever-changing Number Two, the administrator of The Village, who also tries to break Number Six down psychologically.
From the opening titles, the programme was no easy ride. An angry secret agent drives into London in his fashionable Lotus 7 as a storm threatens, bursts into his boss’s office, throws his resignation down on to his desk, and storms out again. At home later, he finds an undertaker at his door. Gas comes through the keyhole, and he collapses as he packs his bags to go away. He wakes up in the Village, and no one will tell him where he is or why he is there, only that he is Number Six. ” I am not a number, I am a free man!” is his answer – and battle was joined in 17 attempted escapes.
Those unfamiliar with The Prisoner, may remember an older McGoohan as Edward Longshanks in Braveheart. He’s also famous for having turned down the part of James Bond – Sean Connery took the role instead. McGoohan didn’t like Bond’s guntoting, womanising ways!
Before the Prisoner, McGoohan had been the highest earning British TV actor, for his role in Danger Man (aka Secret Agent), as John Drake. One of the later episodes sees Drake infiltrating a fake English village in Russia, populated with defectors, for the training of Russian spies. McGoohan later resigned from playing a spy to make The Prisoner, about a spy who resigns from his job and is kidnapped, before being brought to a strange village…
SF Gate: ‘Prisoner’ actor Patrick McGoohan dies in LA »
The Guardian: Patrick McGoohan: The Prisoner actor dies aged 80 »
The Guardian: Obituary of Patrick McGoohan »
The Prisoner makes an appearance int the Simpsons….