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 (1964) TV series (AKA ‘Secret Agent in the US), 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. By the series’ 3rd year, McGoohan felt the series had run its course and was beginning to repeat itself. McGoohan and Lew Grade – the president of ITC (the series’ production company), had agreed that McGoohan could leave Danger Man to begin work on a new series, 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 ITC’s 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 caused 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 four 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 Edward I (Longshanks) in Mel Gibson’s production of Braveheart (1995). As such, he has solidified his casting in the role of Angry Old Man.
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