‘Avengers’ TV Show Star Patrick Macnee Dies at 93

Patrick Macnee Dead
Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Patrick Macnee, famous for his role on “The Avengers” British TV series, died Thursday of natural causes at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He was 93.

Macnee, who played John Steed in the spy-fi show, died with his family at his bedside.

“Wherever he went, he left behind a trove of memories,” a statement on the actor’s website read. “Patrick Macnee was a popular figure in the television industry. He was at home wherever in the world he found himself. He had a knack for making friends, and keeping them.”

“The Avengers” initially focused on Dr. David Keel (Ian Hendry) and his assistant (Macnee), but Macnee’s famously bowler hat wearing, umbrella-wielding intelligence officer (he never used a gun) became the protagonist when Hendry exited the series. Macnee played the part alongside a succession of strong, female partners, including Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg and Joanna Lumley. The show ran from 1961 and 1969 and was reprised in the 1970s.

The series was unsuccessfully adapted for the bigscreen in 1998 in a film that starred Ralph Fiennes as John Steed and Uma Thurman as his female partner and Sean Connery as the villain they faced.

The original “Avengers” TV series is still broadcast all over the world.

Macnee also made guest appearances on “Columbo,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “The Love Boat” and “Frasier.”

On the film side, he appeared in Laurence Olivier’s “Hamlet,” the 1951 version of “A Christmas Carol,” “This Is Spinal Tap,” and the 1985 James Bond film “A View to a Kill.”

Macnee is survived by a son and a daughter as well as a grandson.

Donations may be made to the Actors Fund.

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  1. Brian Griffin says:

    Every Friday night in the late ’60s I’d watch the spy shows: “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” and “The Avengers.” John and Emma were the coolest spies on TV. As a kid I’d watch the show with my derby hat and my dad’s umbrella with my miniature “Matchbox” Bentley. “The Avengers” is still great TV today. Such sad news. At 93 I’m sure he lived a full life.

  2. RS says:

    Such a sad loss. He was a fine actor indeed.

  3. Sean says:

    The Avengers is one of the greatest tv shows of all time. I’m not sure why it’s believed that John Steed never used a gun.

  4. max says:

    at the time of James Bond, Our Man Flint, fast cars and big boobs along came Steed in his old Bentley with Mrs. Peel. they were needed.

  5. meigom says:

    The Avengers with Steed and Mrs Peel remains my favourite TV show of all time, and I’ve seen a lot of television…

  6. Norman Stanley says:

    R.I.P Patrick you were always a favourite of mine still love The Avengers

  7. Loved the Avengers. My only regret is he didn’t stay and work in the UK, we would had so much more to remember him by.

  8. Ken Gough says:

    I have always loved Patrick McNee and his work as John Steed in “The Avengers”. I have a copy of every single episode of that series. God Bless hm, and prayers and condolences to his family…

  9. cadavra says:

    Coming so soon after Christopher Lee, this is doubly heartbreaking.

    • dc says:

      Apparently they were at school together, and later collaborated on a famous Avengers episode with Lee playing a cybernaut. Their long, rich lives and careers don’t break my heart as much as they leave me grateful.

  10. janeen says:

    Why do we all remember this man and the series so fondly? It was because he was classy and the series was classy. No messy stuff, no gore, etc. I so wish today’s drama series would take note. I would gladly watch class acting than sensational special effects and gore any day. I guess that is why I watch lots of British TV!

    • Janet Marie Cooper says:

      Have you ever watched “White Collar”?? I think Matt Bomer’s charming Neal Caffrey is a lot like Steed…Wears a designer suit & hat, never used a gun (except once, and he never shot anyone), his cleverness & wit…Steed was as much of a con man as he was a spy…

  11. Jim Bailey says:

    Thanks for some real great work….British at it’s COOLEST!

  12. I was a fan of “The Avengers” with his co partner Diana Rigg. At the time, it was one of my favorites on tv. Rip Patrick Macnee.

  13. Joseph Thompson says:

    Mrs. Peel, We’re Needed!

  14. Derek Habbeshaw says:

    Loved this show when I was a kid…Emma Peel was great as well…

  15. kala says:

    sadness. condolences to his family.

  16. A co-worker saw him from the audience in Florida when he hosted a live remote for one of the British talk shows from the opening of MGM-Universal Park about 20 years ago. High humidity, 100+ temp, everyone was melting. Except for Patrick McGee. She said he was on stage, “just like his television character, cool and relaxed, calm and unflappable.” That’s the way to remember him.

  17. mike mc dougall says:

    Always watched the series,especially with Diana Rigg in her tight leather body suit.WOW!

  18. Lynn says:

    I am sad to hear this. Rest in Peace Mr. Macnee. Your portrayal of John Steed will always be a fond memory for me.

  19. Blackcurry says:

    He was great in whatever he did. Never missed a single episode of the Avengers. He and Dame Diana Rigg were awesome. He will be missed.

  20. Myrna says:

    They are also saying on the internet that it is a hoax and that he is not dead. Which one is it?

  21. Bill B. says:

    God knows he worked a lot for decades, but he never really was famous for anything other than The Avengers, though I bet some remember him for The Howling. I loved that show. He and Emma Peel were among my favorites when growing up. She was sooo far ahead of her time.

    • Janet Marie Cooper says:

      She was the inspiration for “ALIAS”‘s Sydney Bristow!! I always thought that Steed & Mrs. Peel had a one-nighter & the baby that resulted was Jack Bristow…

    • TJ says:

      Are you kidding? He was fab as Sir Denis Eaton-Hogg in “This is Spinal” (“Tap in-to America!”)

  22. JohnB says:

    How about his small but memorable role as the British record company executive in This Is Spinal Tap?

    “Now, we here at Polymer we’re all looking forward to a long and…and…and fruitful relationship with Spinal Tap. We wish them great success on their North American tour and so say all of us…Tap into America!”

    RIP, Sir Denis Eaton-Hogg!

  23. Paul Segraves says:

    “Mrs. Peel….We’re needed.” John Steed’s great line in the early parts of of many Avengers episodes during the golden Diana Rigg era. He was class extraordinaire.

  24. Marty Gillis says:

    Mistake on my part, meant to say “A View to a Kill”.. (sorry)

  25. Marty Gillis says:

    Such a nice man in real life as well! He was also quite memorable in “Moonraker” and the Alastair Sim classic, “A Christmas Carol” as young Jacob Marley. A true gentleman!

  26. Dunstan says:

    An extraordinary match of actor and role.

  27. ejkilborn says:

    Sniff. I always loved watching him. Rest in peace.

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