by Larry Brody
John Steed died a few days ago, but my old and very dear friend Patrick Macnee, lives on.
I know obits of great actors are supposed to be written the other way around. “The man is dead, but his character goes on forever.” But to me Pat could never, can never, will never die – because he has lived his life more fully than any other human being I’ve ever known.
Pat wasn’t a brand, like so many other big names today. Hell, he wasn’t even that big a name.
What he was, was a man.
The kindest, most charming, most thoughtful and, yes, most truly elegant man it’s ever been my privilege to know. Dood did everything right, personally and professionally. Yes, I know some people who know him better than I did may disagree. Pat knew that too. He’d cataloged his every flaw…as well as every strength, and never spoke about either. And that, to me, is the mark of a great man.
My memory is that he and I met on the set of the pilot for the late and mostly unlamented (except by those in the know) series, AUTOMAN, where he played the most sophisticated and scene-controlling villain I’d ever watched enunciate my words. But Pat already knew me when I first said hello. From the original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, he said.
I hadn’t worked on BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. It was made at Universal, and I’ve always kept as far away from Universal as I could, because I know damn well that it’s impossible for me to function within the kind of orderly system they had there back in the day. I told this to Pat, and he just smiled, shook his head, and spent the next 10 minutes regaling me with anecdotes about our days working there together and what a joy (that was his word, “joy”) it had been to serve in the TV trenches with me.
When he’d finished telling me the stories he looked at me expectantly. Damned if I wasn’t wavering now, wondering if maybe I’d had a terrible memory loss. No, it would’ve been worse than terrible. It would’ve been catastrophic because Patrick Macnee made those times together sound so wonderful that the idea that I hadn’t really had them seemed unbearable.
So I chose to remember them, and instead of becoming his friend, I did the same thing he did – I resumed our friendship, and we took it from there.
As I got to know him better, I saw that he charmed everybody this way. Made everyone he encountered special…thereby proving that he was the most special of all.
I have a shitload of Pat Mcnee stories, but I’m not going to tell them because most of them are set in the past. So instead of writing on, I’m going to sit here and savor the stories of Pat Mcnee and Larry Brody Future that are meandering through my head. But I’ll tell you what. In case you want to know more about the absolutely #1 First Most Interesting Man in the World, or in case you have no idea who I’m talking about, allow me to send you to the blog of another Great Man, Keith Kelly Topping.
Keith doesn’t know me, but I know him. And I remember all those great moments Keith and have had together through the years and I sure as hell wish they’d happened…just as Patrick Macnee felt about everybody he met.