Macnee in an episode of Columbo, May 1975
|Born||Daniel Patrick Macnee
6 February 1922
Paddington, London, England
|Died||25 June 2015
Rancho Mirage, California, U.S.
Well, you know, I was through the whole of the Second World War and saw all my friends killed.
I'm not surprised 'The Avengers' has such enduring popularity, because it was a groundbreaking series that changed television. It was the first show that put its leading man and leading lady on an equal footing and showed a woman fighting and kicking and throwing men around. That was a radical departure in its time.
Television has some lovely aspects to it – and some ghastly aspects – but the theater itself was a wonderful invention.
Retirement's the most wonderful thing. I get to enjoy all the things I never stopped to notice on the way up. After an extraordinary life, it's time to enjoy my retirement.
I'm not afraid of death. What's to fear? Once you're dead, that's it. Nothing. I don't believe in heaven or hell. That's baloney. What matters is the here and now. Yes, I'm 88, and there are things I can't do: I can't run a race or climb Everest. But isn't life magnificent?
I missed so much of the Swinging Sixties by working. From 1961 to 1969, I got up at 4.30 A.M., a car came for me at 5.30 A.M., and I was taken to our studio at Teddington or Elstree, and we filmed until I got home at 9.30 P.M., five days a week.
Who'd give up sunny California for the grey old Earls Court Road? I'm looking out at blue skies and the mountains and trees, and it's so beautiful.
But I did an awful lot of work in Hollywood, and in New York for that matter.
I went to acting school, but only for nine months. If you're an actor, you know, don't really need to learn how to do it.
I mean, everyone says Citizen Kane. It isn't that great, anyway. And Orson Welles I knew well, of course. He made other incredible films that no one would let him make, which were much better than Citizen Kane, really.
These things don't just come, arrive and settle like a bird picking up a few bits of crumbs. They develop. I think the best word for these things is develop. They develop because of the human beings who just happen to be there at the time.
I like most of the Humphrey Bogart movies because they had to act then, and they acted very well. Edward G. Robinson is probably the best actor I've ever seen on the movies.
And in the Second World War, you didn't just read about it in the newspapers because you weren't allowed to read it in the newspapers. It was all censored, you know? So nobody knew what we were doing.
I'd grown up with a lot of women. My mother was a famous lesbian in the '20s and '30s, and I grew up with only women, so I was used to getting on with them.
The very first thing you learn if you're a gentleman is that you never compare one woman to another. That's the way of all death.
So I find the fascination, the love, the incredible skill and everything to do with acting, writing plays, and doing them, just darling. Lovely. I love actors.
I take great pride in recalling that I could open in a play on Broadway or in London's West End and fill a theatre on the strength of my name – Steed's name.
I loved Ingrid Bergman. I sat and saw her on the stage in a theater in the round.
And that's what happened to that show. It started ordinary, it started really rather bad. As I said, there was a review that said, really, we think the commercials are better than the show. And then it gradually developed.
The only danger about websites, you know, is people who remember something you did or said thirty or forty years ago, and bring it up against you, so you're going for a job and you don't get it.
The radio even weren't allowed to say there was a Holocaust and people were being killed right, left and center in these terrible camps.
Until the year 1967, it was a crime, for which you could be put in prison, to make homosexual love to someone in your own house. If they came in and caught you at it, you could be put into prison. This has changed – I'm talking about England, incidentally.
Linda Thorson was a great actress with a great body, but she arrived just as 'The Avengers' was losing its appeal.
They call it The New Avengers but it's really the old Avengers with new people except for me, looking rather fat and rather old.
It doesn't work that way, you know, because most parts that you think you'd do well, most other people don't. So they offer you something – The Avengers is a good example… I fitted into that because I came from that sort of background. It's not even acting.
Accomplishment is such a patronizing, dangerous word, isn't it? I haven't really accomplished anything. The most accomplished thing I've done is to have lived this long – 81.