Patrick McGoohan was a British-American actor, writer, and director, best known for his role as the enigmatic Number Six in the influential television series “The Prisoner.” He was born on March 19, 1928, in Astoria, Queens, New York City, to Irish immigrant parents but was raised in Ireland. His family moved back to the United States when he was a teenager, and he attended the St. Vincent’s Grammar School in Brooklyn before returning to Ireland to study at St. Aloysius College in County Clare.

McGoohan began his acting career at the Sheffield Repertory Theatre in the 1950s. He appeared in various stage productions, honing his acting skills and establishing his versatility. In 1957, he caught the attention of Orson Welles while performing in a production of “Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance” and was subsequently cast in Welles’s film “No Longer Alone.” This marked the beginning of McGoohan’s successful transition to the big screen.

His breakout role came in 1960 when he starred as John Drake in the British television series “Danger Man” (known in the United States as “Secret Agent”). McGoohan’s portrayal of the intelligent and resourceful secret agent earned him widespread recognition and established him as a popular actor. The show was a huge success and ran for four seasons.

After the conclusion of “Danger Man,” McGoohan embarked on a more experimental and daring television project. In 1967, he created and starred in “The Prisoner.” Set in “The Village,” a surreal and oppressive environment, McGoohan’s character, Number Six, is a former secret agent held captive and coerced into revealing the reasons for his resignation. “The Prisoner” became a cult classic and gained a significant following, exploring themes of individualism, surveillance, and personal freedom.

McGoohan continued his successful career on both sides of the Atlantic. His film credits include notable roles in “Ice Station Zebra” (1968), “Scanners” (1981), “Braveheart” (1995), and “A Time to Kill” (1996). He was equally active in television, making appearances in shows such as “Columbo,” “Murder, She Wrote,” and “The Simpsons.”

Throughout his career, McGoohan received critical acclaim and numerous awards. He won two Primetime Emmy Awards for his roles in “Columbo” and “The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh.” In 1990, he was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship, the highest honor bestowed by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, for his outstanding contribution to television. Furthermore, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2009.

Patrick McGoohan was known for his uncompromising approach to his work. He had a reputation for being selective with his projects, turning down roles that he felt did not align with his principles. Throughout his career, he tackled complex and thought-provoking themes, challenging conventional storytelling and pushing the boundaries of television and film.

His impact on contemporary culture cannot be overstated. “The Prisoner” has left an indelible mark on popular culture and has been cited as a major influence by other filmmakers, writers, and artists. McGoohan’s portrayal of Number Six has become an iconic and enduring figure, representing the struggle for individual freedom and autonomy against oppressive systems. His career and artistic choices continue to inspire and resonate with audiences today.

Patrick McGoohan passed away on January 13, 2009, at the age of 80, leaving behind a legacy of exceptional performances and contributions to the world of entertainment. He will always be remembered as a talented and visionary actor who challenged the norms of his time and left an indelible mark on the industry.

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