Patrick Macnee, Star of 1960s TV Series 'The Avengers,' Dies at 93

Patrick Macnee - H 2015
AP Images/Invision

Patrick Macnee - H 2015

The actor was best known as dapper secret agent John Steed in the long-running British television series.

Patrick Macnee, star of the 1960s TV series The Avengers, has died. He was 93.

His son, Rupert, said in a statement that Macnee, who was best known as dapper secret agent John Steed in the long-running television series, died Thursday of natural causes at his home in Rancho Mirage with his family at his bedside.

The Avengers, which began in 1961 in England, debuted in the United States in 1966. It ran for eight seasons and continued in syndication for decades afterward. Macnee reprised his role as Steed in The New Avengers, which aired from 1976 to 1977.

The British-born actor also appeared in such TV series as Tales of Adventure, Gavilan, Empire and Lime Street. Macnee starred in such films as This Is Spinal Tap (1984), A View to a Kill (1985) and Waxwork (1988).

He also was the voice of Invisible Jones in the 1998 film adaptation of The Avengers, which starred Ralph Fiennes as Steed. His other voice work includes 1970s Battlestar Galactica, in which he voiced the Imperious Leader.

Macnee was born in London on Feb. 6, 1922, to Daniel Macnee, a racehorse trainer, and Dorothea Henry, the niece of the Earl of Huntingdon. His parents divorced when his father left for India, and he was raised in Wiltshire by his mother and her lover, known as "Uncle" Evelyn.

He attended Eton College, where he had an active role in the school's dramatic society. However, Macnee was expelled for being a bookie and pornographer on campus.

Macnee then won a scholarship to Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. His first role was in 1941 in a stage production of Little Women. He made his film debut as an extra in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943).

In later years, he recorded books on tape, including the Bible, several of Jack Higgins' thrillers, Peter Mayle's Toujours Provence and his own autobiography, Blind in One Ear.

He is survived by son Rupert, daughter Jenny and a grandson.

Donations in Macnee's honor can be made to the Actors Fund.