Patrick McGoohan

Patrick McGoohan

80 (passed away Jan. 13th, 2009)
Mar. 19th, 1928
Born in
Astoria, Queens, New York City, New York, USA
6' 2"

Patrick McGoohan's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
The Prisoner (UK) TV Show
The Prisoner (UK)
Danger Man (UK) TV Show
Danger Man (UK)
Rafferty TV Show

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


Though born in America, Irish actor Patrick McGoohan rose to become the number-one British TV star in the 1950s to 1960s era. His parents moved to Ireland when he was very young and McGoohan acquired a neutral accent that sounds at home in British or American dialogue. He was an avid stage actor and performed hundreds of times in small and large productions before landing his first TV and film roles. McGoohan is one of few actors who has successfully switched between theater, TV, and films many times during his career. He was often cast in the role of Angry Young Man. In 1959, he was named Best TV Actor of the Year in Britain. Shortly thereafter, he was chosen for the starring role in the "Secret Agent" TV series (AKA "Danger Man" (1960)), which proved to be an immense success for three years and allowed the British to break into the burgeoning American TV market for the first time. McGoohan became bored with the limiting role of spy and turned in his resignation right after the first episode of the fourth year had been filmed ("Koroshi"). McGoohan set up his own production company and collaborated with noted author and script editor George Markstein to sell a brand new concept to ITV's president, Lew Grade. McGoohan starred in, directed, produced, and wrote many of the episodes, sometimes taking a pseudonym to reduce the sheer number of credits to his name. Thus, the TV series "The Prisoner" (1967) came to revolve around the efforts of a secret agent, who resigned early in his career, to clear his name. His aim was to escape from a fancifully beautiful but psychologically brutal prison for people who know too much. The series was as popular as it was surreal and allegorical and its mysterious final episode cause such an uproar that McGoohan was to desert England for more than 20 years to seek relative anonymity in LA, where celebrities are "a dime a dozen."

During the 1970s, he appeared in two episodes of the TV detective series "Columbo," for which he won an Emmy Award. His film roles lapsed from prominence until his powerful performance as King Longshanks in Mel Gibson (I)'s production of Braveheart (1995). As such, he has solidified his casting in the role of Angry Old Man.

  • The son of an Irish-born farmer, he left school at 16 to work in a rope factory. He subsequently worked on a chicken farm but had to seek other employment because of an allergy to chicken feathers.
  • 'Orson Welles' (qv) was so impressed by his performance in the 1955 West End play "Serious Charge" that he cast him as Starbuck in his production of "Moby Dick Rehearsed".
  • Reprised his _"The Prisoner" (1967)_ (qv) character (Number Six) in _"The Simpsons" (1989)_ (qv) episode "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes."
  • He made his mark in gritty films like _Hell Drivers (1957)_ (qv), which gave him his bad boy persona on screen.
  • Liked to drink Irish whiskey at 217 bar in Santa Monica, owned by burlesque great 'Betty Rowland (I)' (qv).
  • In his youth, considered becoming a Catholic priest.
  • Played the same regular character (John Drake) in two different series of Danger Man: _"Danger Man" (1960)_ (qv) and _"Danger Man" (1964)_ (qv). His _"The Prisoner" (1967)_ (qv) character, Number Six, may also have been intended to be Drake (although McGoohan has always denied this while 'George Markstein' (qv), who co-created the series with McGoohan, continually said he was).
  • Two of his most famous characters, Number Six in _"The Prisoner" (1967)_ (qv) and the Warden in _Escape from Alcatraz (1979)_ (qv), were not given names.

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