Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"The Prisoner" Dies at 80

Patrick McGoohan, the Emmy award-winning actor who created and starred in 1960s TV show The Prisoner, has died at the age of 80.

The actor's son-in-law, film producer Cleve Landsberg, said today that McGoohan had died yesterday in Los Angeles after a short illness.

McGoohan was best known as the title character Number Six in surreal drama The Prisoner, which aired on ITV in the UK. He played a former spy who is held captive in a small village and constantly tries to escape.

He also won two Emmys for detective drama Columbo, playing different characters, with the first coming in 1974 and the other 16 years later.

More recently, McGoohan appeared as King Edward Longshanks in the 1995 Mel Gibson film Braveheart.

McGoohan, who was born in New York but raised in England and Ireland, came to screen prominence in ITV's early 1960s drama series Danger Man, in which he played a secret agent.

He was also considered for the lead role in the first James Bond movie, Dr No, before Sean Connery was cast.

However, it was The Prisoner, which aired originally on ITV between 1967 and 1968, with which he was chiefly associated, writing some of the episodes himself under a different name.

His character, Number Six, spent the entire time attempting to escape from a prison – which was disguised as a holiday camp – and trying to find out the identity of his captor, the elusive Number One. He repeatedly declared: "I am not a number - I am a free man!"

In 2000, McGoohan reprised his most famous role in an episode of The Simpsons. His last acting job came in 2002, voicing a character in animation Treasure Planet.

ITV is currently remaking The Prisoner in conjunction with American cable channel AMC.It is due to air later this year.

McGoohan's other film acting credits include Ice Station Zebra, Escape from Alcatraz, Scanners and A Time to Kill.

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