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Patrick Macnee
Antonio Margheriti
Chris Marker
Hugh Marlowe
William Marshall
Arlene Martel
Ross Martin
Richard Matheson
Sir Paul McCartney
Roddy McDowall
Leo McKern
Lee Meriwether
Ricardo Montalban
Agnes Moorhead
Billy Mumy
Eddie Murphy
 
MACNEE, PATRICK
(1922– ). British actor.

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR FILM CREDITS
Acted in films: Scrooge (Brian Desmond-Hurst 1951); The Veil (Herbert L. Strock 1958); The Bloodsuckers (Robert Hartford-Davies 1971); King Solomon's Treasure (Alvin Rakoff 1978); The Flipside of Dominick Hyde (Alan Gibson 1980); The Howling (Joe DANTE 1981); The Creature Wasn't Nice (Bruce Kimmel 1981); Another Flip for Dominick (Gibson 1982); Sweet Sixteen (Jim Sotos 1983); Spaceship (Bruce Kimmel 1983); Shadey (Philip Saville 1985); A View to a Kill (John Glen 1985); Waxwork (Anthony Hickox 1988); Transformations (Jay Kamen 1988); Lobster Men from Mars (Stanley Sheff 1989); Masque of the Red Death (Larry Brand 1989); Waxwork II: Lost in Time (Hickox 1991); The Avengers (voice) (Jeremiah S. Chechik 1998); The Low Budget Time Machine (Kathe Duba-Barnett 2003).

Acted on television: Macbeth (tv movie) (George More O'Farrell 1949); "Night of April 14," episode of One Step Beyond (1959); "Judgment Night" (1959), episode of The Twilight Zone; "Arthur," "The Crystal Trench" (1959), episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents; "The Tintype" (1960), episode of The Unforeseen; The Avengers (tv series) (1961-1969); "Logoda's Heads," episode of Night Gallery (1971); Matt Helm (tv movie) (Buzz Kulik 1975); Sherlock Holmes in New York (tv movie) (Boris SAGAL 1976); The New Avengers (tv series) (1976-1977); Dead of Night (tv movie) (Dan CURTIS 1977); "Assault on the Tower" (1978), episode of The Hardy Boys Mysteries; "War of the Gods" (1978) (two-part episode), "Take the Celestra" (1979) (voice, uncredited), episodes of Battlestar Galactica; The Billion Dollar Threat (tv movie) (Barry Shear 1979); The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Fifteen Years Later Affair (tv movie) (Ray Austin 1983); Automan (tv movie) (Lee Katzin 1983); "Survival of the Fittest" (1988), episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents; "Epiphany" (1989), episode of War of the Worlds; Around the World in Eighty Days (tv miniseries) (1989); Scrooge: A Christmas Carol (host of tv presentation of colorized version of Scrooge [1951]) (David McKenzie 1989); "Usher II" (1990), episode of Ray Bradbury Theater; Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady (tv movie) (Peter Sasdy 1992); The Hound of London (tv movie) (Peter Reynolds-Long 1993); "Dragonswing" (1993), "Dragonswing II" (1994), episodes of Kung Fu: The Legend Continues; "NightMan," "Chrome" (1997), "Do You Believe in Magic," "Bad to the Bone," "Devil in Disguise" (1998), episodes of NightMan.

 
Patrick Macnee never takes things too seriously. This is a quality no doubt developed as a matter of necessity while growing up with a lesbian mother and an alcoholic father who gambled away the family fortune, and a quality that has surely assisted him in calmly enduring the inevitable ups and downs of a fifty-year acting career on both sides of the Atlantic. But this can also make Macnee's presence a liability when—as is often the case in science fiction film—the filmmakers very much want the audience to take things seriously.

Macnee began working in Great Britain, with assignments including a brief appearance as young Jacob Marley in Scrooge, but he wasn't satisfied with the roles he was getting, and so he traveled to that magical land where a responsible actor with a British accent will never be underemployed, the United States of America, becoming so fond of the place that he actually became an American citizen. An ironic demonstration of his gift for placidity came in his episode of One Step Beyond, "Night of April 14th," in which he cheerfully informs his wife, who is terrified of drowning, that he has just bought them tickets for the maiden voyage of the Titanic. He showed a little more passion when he was observed actually on board a sinking ship in an episode of The Twilight Zone, "Judgment Night."

Still, guest appearances on American television shows were clearly not doing much for his career, and so he returned to his homeland to join a new series, The Avengers, which finally made him a star. Initially a supporting character, Macnee soon became its star, and initially a serious crime drama, the series gradually adjusted itself to Macnee's personality to become a stylish and serenely executed confection. As episodes increasingly resembled high-tech spy thrillers that qualify as science fiction, The Avengers also became—as most aggressively argued by John Grant in The Encyclopedia of Fantasy—a genuine fantasy, featuring incomplete sets and other devices clearly signaling that the depicted events were not quite real. All this may be true, but viewers of a television series do occasionally want to care about what's going on, and while Macnee's most memorable co-star, Diana RIGG, could smoothly adjust to the silly shenanigans, she also had the ability, at some point in an episode, to look a distressed person in the eye and communicate, by means of her words and facial expression, that she was genuinely concerned about the person's plight and would earnestly strive to make everything all right. In contrast, Macnee might furrow his brow now and then, but we always knew that he thought it was all a game. Thus, for all Macnee's undeniable charm, it was Rigg's sense of conviction that made The Avengers an international success, and the show predictably fell apart after her departure. Macnee is undoubtedly likeable and memorable in his own way, there are reasons other than citizenship issues why this volume speaks of Dame Diana Rigg and does not speak of Sir Patrick Macnee.

During the 1970s, Macnee participated in a brief revival of his greatest triumph, The New Avengers, with a new young male lead unwisely brought in to do some of the heavy lifting. He also drifted into the bad company of Glen A. LARSON, who proceeded to misuse him in three of his most execrable series, Battlestar Galactica, Automan, and NightMan. Still, if you wanted to have a bit of fun on screen, Macnee was definitely the man you wanted. When the producers of the pilot for a projected revival of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. recruited Macnee to replace the stolid Leo G. CARROLL as the head of its secret spy organization, that was one sign (another being the idiotic cameo appearance of George Lazenby as James Bond) that the new series was going to abandon the earnestness of the original and go for high camp instead. Macnee could bring an elegant panache to science fiction and horror films that didn't take themselves too seriously, such as A View to a Kill, Waxworks, and Masque of the Red Death, and since Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson always regarded their crime-solving exploits primarily as a big game, it was only fitting to observe Macnee, in the early 1990s, starring as both Holmes and Watson in two television movies. Finally, Macnee could be absolutely perfect in all-out spoofs like Lobster Men from Mars and The Low Budget Time Machine.

In the late 1990s, when idea-challenged Hollywood producers hit upon The Avengers as another old television series they could make a movie out of, the most profitable decision—in more ways than one—would have been to reunite Macnee and Rigg as older-but-wiser incarnations of John Steed and Mrs. Peel, instead of forcing audiences to painfully endure the horrifically inadequate efforts of Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman to replicate their charming camaraderie. Still, in his vocal contributions to the film as the character Invisible Jones, Macnee, as always, remained serene in the face of disaster.

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