Patrick McGoohan

Two-time Emmy-award winning actor Patrick McGoohan, the star of TV hits Secret Agent and The Prisoner, has died. He was 80, and passed away in Santa Monica, Calif. after a brief illness, his family told the L.A. Times.

McGoohan was born in New York to Irish parents who returned to Ireland when he was several months old, and later settled in England.

His rise to fame in American pop culture began in 1961, when he starred as John Drake in CBS' British-produced Danger Man. In 1965, he reprised the role in Secret Agent, an expansion of the show about a spy working for the English government.

It was the actor's next role, in 1968's The Prisoner, that helped him achieved cult status. The British-made show starred McGoohan as a retired secret agent who's abducted and taken to a prison resort known as the Village.

In addition to acting in the show — which has been described as "an espionage tale as crafted by [Franz] Kafka" — as a character known as No. 6, McGoohan co-created and co-produced, plus wrote and directed several of the episodes.

He went on to appear in movies and TV, including a guest role on Columbo, for which he won Emmys in 1975 and 1990.

"There are many very, very talented people in this business, but there are only a handful of genuinely original people," Columbo star Peter Falk said of McGoohan in 2004. "I think Patrick McGoohan belongs in that small select group of truly original people."

On the big screen, the actor appeared in a diverse array of films, such as Mary, Queen of Scots (1971), Escape from Alcatraz (1979) and Braveheart (1995).

McGoohan is survived by his wife, three daughters, five grandchildren and a great-grandson.