John SteedPatrick Macnee, star of popular 1960s British TV series "The Avengers," died Thursday of natural causes at his home in California, surrounded by his family. He was 93.

Macnee starred on hit spy show "The Avengers," which ran on British television -- and was eventually rebroadcast around the globe -- from 1961 to 1969. The series also staged a short revival in the '70s.

Macnee was cast as assistant John Steed, second billing to Ian Hendry's Dr. David Keel character, but as the show continued, Macnee's quirky, bowler-wearing Steed became more popular, and he took over as the series lead after Hendry departed in 1961. Macnee played across from actresses such as Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg, Linda Thorson, and Joanna Lumley on the progressively feminist series, which was also notable for Macnee's insistence that his character never use a gun.

In addition to his work on that seminal show, Macnee was also a World War II veteran, a producer, and a theater buff who worked on Broadway and on the London stage. He appeared on numerous television shows including "Columbo," "Battlestar Galactica," "The Love Boat," "Murder, She Wrote," and "Frasier," and also starred on the big screen in films including Laurence Olivier's "Hamlet," "A Christmas Carol" (1951), "This Is Spinal Tap," and James Bond flick "A View to a Kill." He also had a voiceover cameo in the 1998 movie version of "The Avengers," starring Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman.

"He was at home wherever in the world he found himself," said a statement on Macnee's website. "He had a knack for making friends, and keeping them. Wherever he went, he left behind a trove of memories."

Macnee is survived by a son and a daughter, as well as a grandson.


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