Thursday, June 25, 2015

Day 1301 - RIP Patrick Macnee

When I was growing up, the fictional characters that I looked up to were Spider-Man (with great power comes great responsibility), Nancy Drew (she was going to solve that mystery no matter what), James Bond (because, duh), and John Steed as played by Patrick Macnee in "The Avengers" tv show.
The obvious reason to watch "The Avengers" tv show was Diana Rigg as Emma Peel, because a butt-kicking Bond girl in leather is a win all day long.  But Patrick Macnee was on that show for ages.  He was the rock that the show was built upon.  John Steed was a character who was in control at all times.  He wore a derby hat, had a cane (that, of course, contained a sword hidden within), and was unfailingly polite at all times, even when thumping the bad guys.  I never saw him ruffled, even under the most extreme circumstances.  And that was brought to the fore through Patrick Macnee's very lively performance. 
In fact, it was that performance that made me seek out any other project that he was in.  Obviously, he managed to elevate one of the lesser Bond films, A View to a Kill, by being himself.  But, for me, my favorite performance of his outside of "The Avengers" is his turn in The Howling.  Seeing that movie when you're young - let me tell you, it's scary.  Seeing it when you're older - it's still scary, but at least it's got a very dark sense of humor and satire running through it.  And Macnee brings such a gravitas to his role of Dr. Waggner, that it enhances the horror.
But really, one of the other reasons his passing makes me so sad, is that years ago, when I was in my autograph collecting phase, I had written to him asking about "The Avengers" books he wrote.  (He wrote a few paperbacks using the characters, and they were pretty amazing.)  He actually wrote me a nice little letter back.  A little touch like that - it goes a long, long way.  It's nice to know that, at least to me, he was as much a gentleman off-screen, as on-screen.
I tip my hat to you, sir.

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