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#1 mickjj

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 06:21 AM

Patrick Joseph McGoohan (born March 19, 1928) is an American-born Irish actor who rose to fame in the British film and TV industry by starring in the 1960s television series Danger Man (renamed Secret Agent when exported to the US) and cult classic The Prisoner. McGoohan wrote several episode of The Prisoner himself, occasionally using pseudonyms such as Joseph Serf.

Born in Astoria, Queens, New York to parents living in the United States after emigrating from Ireland to look for work, McGoohan was born on the same date as the nameless character he created and portrayed in The Prisoner. Shortly after he was born, McGoohan's parents moved back to Ireland and, seven years later, they moved to Sheffield, England. His mother had promised God if her first child was a boy, he would grow up to be a priest, and Patrick spent the first 15 years of his life working toward that goal.


At school in England, McGoohan excelled in mathematics and boxing, and later worked as a chicken farmer, a bank clerk and a lorry driver before getting a job as a stage manager at Sheffield Repertory Theatre. When one of the actors became ill, Patrick filled in, launching his acting career. He fell for an actress named Joan Drummond, the woman he reportedly writes love notes to every day. They are still considered one of show business's happiest couples. They were married between a rehearsal of The Taming of the Shrew and an evening performance on May 19, 1951. They have three daughters, Catherine (b. 1952), Anne (b. 1959) and Frances (b 1960).


In this late 1950s newspaper article, Patrick McGoohan is described as "Britain's most important film discovery"He became a priest on a few occasions... on stage. In 1955, McGoohan starred in a West End production of a play called Serious Charge, in the role of a priest accused of homosexuality. Orson Welles was so impressed by McGoohan's stage presence ("intimidated," Welles said later), Welles cast him as Starbuck in his York theatre production of Moby Dick Rehearsed.

While working as a stand-in during actress screen tests, McGoohan was signed to a contract with the Rank Organisation, the largest European Production Company between 1930 and 1960. The producers may have been more interested in capitalizing on his boxing skill and appearance than his acting ability, casting him as the conniving bad boy in such films as the gritty Hell Drivers and the steamy potboiler The Gypsy and the Gentleman, and after a few films and some clashes with the management, the contract was dissolved.

Free of the contract, he did some TV work and continued on the stage in his favourite role, Ibsen's Brand, for which he received an award, and soon producer Lew Grade approached him about another contract, this time for a TV series. Having learned from his experience as a product of the Rank Organisation, McGoohan insisted on several conditions before agreeing to do the spy show Danger Man: all the fistfights should be different, the character would always use his brain before using a gun, and, much to the horror of the executives, no kissing. They hired him anyway. The first series, half-hour shows about a spy named John Drake geared toward an American audience, did fairly well, but not as well as they hoped in the US. It lasted only one year. After the series was over, one interviewer asked McGoohan if he would have liked the series to continue, to which he replied, "I would rather do twenty TV series than go through what I went through under that Rank contract I signed a few years ago for which I blame no one but myself."


Patrick McGoohan, as John Drake, on one of the American Danger Man DVDsDanger Man was rerun in several countries, and gained in cult status worldwide. McGoohan spent some time working for Disney on The Three Lives of Thomasina and The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh. McGoohan had already turned down the roles of James Bond and Simon Templar (The Saint) when Lew Grade asked him if he would like to give John Drake another try. This time, McGoohan had even more say about the series; it was expanded to an hour and the writing was changed to allow McGoohan more acting range. The series' popularity exploded. McGoohan became the highest paid actor in England and it lasted almost three more seasons.


Patrick McGoohan in The PrisonerDuring the fourth season filming, after shooting the first two episodes in colour, McGoohan told Lew Grade he was going to quit. Grade asked if he would at least work on something for him, and McGoohan gave him a run-down of what would later be called a miniseries about a man in a secret position who resigns suddenly and wakes up to find himself in a prison disguised as a holiday resort. Grade asked for a budget, McGoohan had one ready, and they made a deal over a handshake early on a Saturday morning to produce The Prisoner. It was expanded from seven to seventeen episodes.

McGoohan produced, wrote, directed and starred in The Prisoner. He used two pseudonyms when writing : Paddy Fitz for "Free for All" and Joseph Serf for "A Change of Mind". He also wrote "Once Upon A Time" and "Fall Out" using his own name.

The main character spends the entire series trying to escape from The Village and to learn the identity of his nemesis, Number One. The Prisoner was a completely new, cerebral kind of series, stretching the limits of the established television formulas. Its influence has been echoed in Lost, Babylon 5, Nowhere Man, I-man, The Truman Show, The Simpsons, Reboot, even American Idol teaser ads. The final episode was so controversial McGoohan and his family had to leave Britain.

The main character, the nameless Number Six has become McGoohan's most recognisable character. Unfortunately, it has also become his prison. Number Six was so obsessively pro-individual that whenever McGoohan has played someone since who has something to say about individuality or freedom, the character is often compared to his previous incarnation; for example, his rather ironic portrayal of the Warden in Escape from Alcatraz


Patrick McGoohan and his close friend, Peter Falk."Mel [Gibson] will always be Mad Max, and me, I will always be a Number," he was once quoted as saying.

McGoohan has appeared in many films, including Howard Hughes' favourite, Ice Station Zebra, for which he was critically acclaimed, and Silver Streak, with Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. In 1977 he starred in the TV series Rafferty, playing a former army doctor who has retired and moved into private practice. Many people consider this series as a forerunner to House, M.D.. He is most recognized today to a new generation of fans as the Machiavellian King Edward "Longshanks" from the Oscar-winning Braveheart. He directed Richie Havens in a rock-opera version of Othello called Catch My Soul. He has received two Emmy Awards for his work on Columbo with his long-time friend Peter Falk. He also appeared in Scanners, an early science fiction/horror film by Canadian director David Cronenberg that has since attained cult movie status.


Patrick McGoohan as Longshanks in BraveheartIn 2000, he reprised his role as Number Six in an episode of The Simpsons, "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes". In it, Homer Simpson concocts a news story to make his website more popular, and he wakes up in a prison disguised as a holiday resort. Dubbed Number Five, he befriends Number Six and escapes with his boat.

In 1996, he appeared in Paramount's big budget cinema adaptation of The Phantom comic strip, playing the father of the title character (played by Billy Zane). Many fans of the comic objected to the casting of McGoohan, claiming he was way too old to play the character who in the comics died in his late forties.

His last film to date was a voice role in the animated film Treasure Planet, released in 2002. That same year, he received the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award for The Prisoner.

McGoohan's name has been linked to several aborted attempts at producing a new motion picture version of The Prisoner, most recently in 2002 when director Simon West (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider) was signed to helm a version of the story. McGoohan was listed as executive producer on the project, which never came to fruition.

McGoohan was offered the roles of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films, but turned both down for health reasons.

McGoohan was one of several actors considered for the role of James Bond in Dr. No (along with future Bond actor Roger Moore). Part of McGoohan's popular legend is that he turned down the role on moral grounds (the same grounds that would affect how he played John Drake). Ironically, the success of the Bond films is generally cited as the reason for Danger Man being revived in 1964, which led in turn to The Prisoner.

As of 2006, he is mostly retired and living in Los Angeles with his wife of 55 years, Joan Drummond McGoohan.

#2 moor_larkin

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 11:48 AM

You'll find a lot about his early days in theatre in Sheffield at my site.
http://theatrical-mc...e.orange.co.uk/

If anyone has any anecdotes, especially from anyone that can recall him actually performing, or was told stories by their parents/grand-parents about those days of the Playhouse, I'd be fascinated to hear them.

Also, Geoffrey Ost, the man who made the Playhouse what it was, for the generations either side of WWII.

I have a copy of the 1959 book about the Playhouse and if anyone wants an old name checked out: it has full lists of all the players to that year's date.

:)

#3 mickjj

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 02:32 PM

Welcome to the site. if you have not already you should post your site on the "Sheffield Websites" page.

#4 Old Canny Street Kid

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 02:55 PM

I would like to learn something about colleagues of Keith Barron in his days at Townhead Street. One of the finest actresses of that era was Ella Atkinson. Whatever happened to her, and does anyone have any biographical details of her career?

#5 tsavo

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 03:09 PM

She's mentione4d briefly on this site: http://www.bl.uk/pro...chive/orme.html

#6 dunsbyowl1867

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 08:07 AM

I read somewhere that Patrick McGoohan went to De La Salle School on Scott Road, Pitsmoor as did me Dad who isn't an actor.

#7 Old Canny Street Kid

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 03:01 PM

I read somewhere that Patrick McGoohan went to De La Salle School on Scott Road, Pitsmoor as did me Dad who isn't an actor.



Pat McGoohan married Joan Drummond after they met at the Playhouse.

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#8 dunsbyowl1867

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 09:12 AM

Pat McGoohan married Joan Drummond after they met at the Playhouse.


Patrick McGoohan RIP

http://www.telegraph...k-McGoohan.html

#9 Old Canny Street Kid

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 01:11 PM

Patrick McGoohan RIP

http://www.telegraph...k-McGoohan.html


Pat McGoohan was said to "hate interviews and enjoyed intimidating journalists", but I can only say that when I had the pleasure of meeting him at Shepperton Studios in the mid-1960s he was generous with his time, very friendly, and I think he was as much interested in me as I was in him!
He was then filming "Danger Man", and he invited me to watch the filming. He also laid on a meal for me in the Studio cafe/restaurant, insisting that I couldn't travel all the way home on an empty stomach. In my view, a great guy...and he had a great affection for Sheffield, talking at length about working at the old Tinsley Wire premises in the East End, and of his early days at the Playhouse --where, of course, he met his wife, Joan Drummond.

#10 moor_larkin

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 11:24 AM

Pat McGoohan was said to "hate interviews and enjoyed intimidating journalists", but I can only say that when I had the pleasure of meeting him at Shepperton Studios in the mid-1960s he was generous with his time, very friendly, and I think he was as much interested in me as I was in him!
He was then filming "Danger Man", and he invited me to watch the filming. He also laid on a meal for me in the Studio cafe/restaurant, insisting that I couldn't travel all the way home on an empty stomach. In my view, a great guy...and he had a great affection for Sheffield, talking at length about working at the old Tinsley Wire premises in the East End, and of his early days at the Playhouse --where, of course, he met his wife, Joan Drummond.

That's a nice story. I've made something of a study in my recent years, of his British career back in the Fifties and Sixties and your experience seems to be consistent with most accounts of him. I'm actually a trifle baffled that he often gets tagged as being unfriendly. I loved that drawing you scanned in above!

My website (mentioned above) was unfortunately destroyed by the abandonement by Orange of my platform but I have been placing facsimiles of my pages on flickr, here:
http://www.flickr.co...57606700675506/
(I haven't got the energy to create yet another website............ :rolleyes: )