Secret Agent Man, RIP

Secret Agent Man.jpgPatrick McGoohan has died, the actor best known (well, to me) for his role in the 1960’s CBS serial, “Secret Agent,” which is today perhaps best remembered by others for the unforgettable Johnny Rivers theme, “Secret Agent Man.” McGoohan (and the Rivers’ riffs) epitomized that Sixties cool, when Miles Davis and James Bond both wore slim suits and it worked for them both. The sensibility does seem to be making a comeback with “Mad Man,” but their “undercover” exploits are far seedier than these pre-“24″ agents of the 1960s.
Speaking of seedy, I did not know until reading the obituaries–“Wired” has a very good one–that McGoohan turned down the role of both James Bond and “The Saint,” another favorite of the era that opened a pathway for Roger Moore.
Nor did I know that McGoohan had studied for the priesthood (or that he was born in Queens! His family emigrated to Ireland then England when he was a child). According to Wikipedia’s bio, McGoohan big break came in 1955 when he starred in a West End production of a play called “Serious Charge,” in the role of a priest unjustly accused of molesting a young man.
McGoohan’s Catholic culture continued to influence his roles. While James Bond was a womanizer, “Secret Agent” John Drake was decidedly not, and on purpose. McGoohan also insisted that Drake use his brain before his gun. Depsite the lack of sex and violence, “Danger Man,” as it was originally called, became the No. 1 hit in England.
Film and TV buffs have rightly highlighted McGoohan’s broader body of work, in particular the surrealist series “The Prisoner,” and they reflect on it better than I can. Others may remember him in Disney films like “The Three Lives of Thomasina,” and he was a voice in a 200 episode of “The Simpsons.” (I like John Murphy’s post at “Catholic Film Reviewer.”) In short, McGoohan’s life and work was not as well known as it deserves to be.
McGoohan was 80, and died in Los Angeles. (H/T to CNS.) He is survived by his wife of 57 years, and his three daughters and five grandchildren. And last June, he became a great-grandfather.

Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Pontifications. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Faith, Media and Culture Prayer, Plain and Simple Happy Blogging!!!   ...

posted 2:38:01pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Moving on, and many, many thanks... recent vacation and related absences also coincided with an offer from to cover religion for them, as editor Melinda Henneberger announces here in her roundup on the site's very successful first 100 days. That ...

posted 8:29:24pm Aug. 02, 2009 | read full post »

Calvin at 500, Calvinism 2.0
If you thought you knew John Calvin--who turned 500 last week--you probably don't know enough. For example, that he was French, born Jean Cauvin. And if he was in fact scandalized by dancing, he was also a lot more complex than that. I explored ...

posted 11:53:35am Jul. 16, 2009 | read full post »

Apologia pro vita sua...Kinda
 In my defense, I've had computer outages and family reunions and a few days of single-parenthood, which is always a bracing reminder of what many parents go through all the time. And this weekend it's off for a week's vacation. Anyway, ...

posted 10:51:36am Jul. 16, 2009 | read full post »

When Benny met Barry: "I'll pray for you!"
The first word via Vatican Radio and first image (that I saw) via Rocco: Speaking to Vatican Radio, Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi said "moral values in international politics, immigration and the Catholic Church's ...

posted 12:54:28pm Jul. 10, 2009 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.