Details of Patrick Macnee’s Life

Patrick Macnee was born into an aristocratic English family — his Father was a successful racehorse trainer and his mother was the lovely Dorothea Hastings, a niece of the Earl of Huntingdon (descendants of Robin Hood!). His parents divorced after his father ran off to India and his mother moved into Rooksnest, a bizarre household in Wiltshire, dominated by his mother’s lady lover, the formidable “Uncle” Evelyn. At age three, he was bundled off to Summer Fields Prep School near Oxford. Patrick then entered Eton College, where apart from an active role with the school’s dramatic society, he distinguished himself as the leading bookie and pornographer on campus — and was promptly expelled.

Macnee went on to win a scholarship to Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art and got his start in show business in 1941 with a small role in a stage production of Little Women. One year later he made his debut in films as an extra in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp.

After serving as an officer in His Majesty’s Royal Britannic Navy (1942-46), Patrick resumed his career in stage and film roles. Commuting between Britain, America and Canada, where he helped to pioneer Canadian TV, Macnee starred in over 30 television plays and more than a dozen feature films during the busy post-war years. Patrick was in Hollywood from 1957-1959 for Les Girls and Mission of Danger for MGM; his TV credits during this time included various Playhouse 90’s, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and numerous stage appearances across the country.

In 1960 Macnee landed the leading role in an imaginative new British TV series The Avengers, playing John Steed, the suave, dashing Englishman with his bowler hat, rolled umbrella and fancy clothes. Overnight The Avengers became an international hit, Macnee’s popularity soared and both show and star enjoyed a cult-like status. His leading ladies included Diana Rigg, Honor Blackman, Joanna Lumley and Linda Thorson.

His early major credits include Young Doctors in Love, James Bond’s A View To A Kill, Sea Wolves with David Niven, Gregory Peck and Roger Moore, Rob Reiner’s This Is Spinal Tap, and the television series, The New Avengers. For two years Macnee also starred in the Broadway production of Sleuth. He then performed the role in Canada and other U.S. cities.

Numerous appearances on television series include Sherlock Holmes with Christopher Lee, HBO’s Dream On and 26 episodes of Thunder in Paradise with Hulk Hogan. He currently hosts the Sci-Fi Channel’s popular program Mysteries, Magic and Miracles.

One of his great pleasures these days is recording books on tape. Recent recordings include the Bible, eight of Jack Higgins’ thrillers and Peter Mayle’s “Toujours Provence.” Patrick’s entertaining autobiography, “Blind In One Ear,” was published in 1992.

His latest book is a memoir, “The Avengers: The Inside Story”, which was re-published by Titan Books in January 2008, and is a companion to the digitally remastered home videos of the The Avengers and The New Avengers. Since their original release in 1998, the home videos, with episodes starring Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg, Linda Thorson, Joanna Lumley and Gareth Hunt have all ranked high on the Billboard Top 40 charts.

After nearly 40 years on television, The Avengers came to the big screen with Ralph Fiennes in the role of John Steed. Carrying on the suave style created by Patrick Macnee, the new Steed continued to wear a bowler hat and carry a furled umbrella, but did not — to Macnee’s delight — carry a gun.

In his spare time Patrick enjoys bird-watching, desert reclamation, and preventing terrorism! (He received an award from the Bureau of Federal Aviation for preventing terrorism on aircraft). Also, The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror has honored Patrick with their prestigious Golden Scroll award. A born raconteur, Patrick delights in entertaining audiences large and small.