Patrick McGoohan, best known for being The Prisoner in the eponymous tv series, has died this week. He was 80 years old.
The impact of The Prisoner shouldn’t be underestimated. First aired in 1967, the series was so disturbingly odd ITV decided to cut the series short to 17 episodes. The final episode, which should’ve answered all the viewer’s answers, was made confusing and weird by McGoohan thousands of viewers wrote to ITV, demanding to be explained the series finale. ITV sent letters to all the viewers who’d requested some sort of explanation, explaining the final episode as good as they could. The deliberate confusion was McGoohan’s kneejerk reaction to cutting his ‘baby’ short. The Prisoner remains one of the most personal tv series ever made: not only was it the brain child of McGoohan, he also starred in it as “Number Six” and wrote as well as directed some of the episodes.
The Prisoner was conceived at a party, where McGoohan was talking about his role as a spy in the series Danger Man. At one point the question arose what would happen to spies when they’d retire, a question that sparked off the cult series.
McGoohan was considered for the lead role in Dr No, before Sean Connery was cast as James Bond. McGoohan shouldn’t feel sorry for this: he had a wonderful career in television and the cinema. The actor managed to win two Emmy awards for his guest roles in Columbo, the first time in 1974 and once again in 1990.
His filmography includes Escape from Alcatraz, the David Cronenberg movie Scanners and a memorable role in Ice Station Zebra.
The actor died in Los Angeles after a short illness.