Patrick Joseph McGoohan (19 March 1928 – 13 January 2009) was an American-born actor, brought up in Ireland and Britain, where he established an extensive stage and film career, with his most notable roles in the 1960s television series Danger Man (renamed Secret Agent when exported to the US), and The Prisoner, which he co-created. McGoohan wrote and directed several episodes of The Prisoner himself, occasionally using the pseudonyms Joseph Serf and Paddy Fitz. Later in his career he moved to America and subsequently appeared as the killer in four Columbo episodes, twice winning an Emmy. He was featured in David Cronenberg's Scanners (1981), and played King Edward I "Longshanks" in Mel Gibson's Braveheart (1995).
McGoohan was born in Astoria, Queens, New York City, to Thomas McGoohan and Rose Fitzpatrick, who were living in the United States after emigrating from Ireland to look for work. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic. Shortly after he was born, McGoohan's parents moved back to Mullaghmore, County Leitrim, Ireland, and, seven years later, they moved to Sheffield, England. McGoohan attended St Vincent's School in Sheffield, but following the outbreak of World War II he was evacuated to Loughborough, Leicestershire. There he attended Ratcliffe College, where he excelled in mathematics and boxing.
McGoohan left school at the age of sixteen and returned to Sheffield where he worked as a chicken farmer, a bank clerk and a lorry driver before getting a job as a stage manager at Sheffield Repertory Theatre. When one of the actors became ill, McGoohan was substituted, launching his acting career.