I just heard that Patrick McGoohan passed away yesterday. For those of you who don't know his name, Patrick was an actor, writer, director and producer. His 1960's series, Secret Agent, made him a household name and he won two Emmy awards for his work on Columbo. But he's probably best known for a remarkable mini-series called "The Prisoner".
Patrick was one of the key inspirations for Humanety. Throughout my life, I've had the unusual luck to meet a number of my heroes. As I grew older, I realized how rare it is to really get to know the famous people who have inspired you. The leaders -- "celebrities" just doesn't do them justice -- I've known have had a profound impact upon my life. I'm grateful for the gracious sharing of their time and wisdom. It occurred to me a few years ago that it would be great if everyone had the opportunity to truly interact with their heroes. I've been wanting to make a positive impact on society and, as a CIO, I made extensive use of video conferencing since it's inception in the 1990's. Hence, Humanety: celebrity + fan + video conferencing = charity.
My parents divorced when I was 11, and for the next decade my dad was not a presence in my life. I really wanted/needed a male role model, so I decided to learn more about people whose work I admired. I focused on five of them: Walt Disney, Orson Welles, Charles Schultz, Jeff Lynne and Patrick McGoohan. Not because of their commercial success but because of the passionate pursuit of their artistic visions. These people don't have much in common except the fact that they didn't compromise in their artistry and are all truly worthy of the label "genius". Of course, I didn't think I would ever live up to their examples, but, in my adolescent innocence, it made sense to at least aim high.
Sadly, I never had the chance to meet Patrick. We intended to reach out to him very soon; we wanted to get Humanety up to speed before contacting his publicist. It's impossible to know if Patrick would have participated in Humanety. But it would have been nice to just be able to thank him for his work.
I didn't intend this article to be about me, but I've observed that a little self-reflection is common when someone passes away. This may be a good thing: it provides an opportunity to think about what is important, to realize that our time here is not unlimited and to put our priorities in the right order. I'm going to reach out to Jeff Lynne today.
Thank you, Mr. McGoohan, for your vision, passion and the inspiration you've provided to me and many others. You really are Number One.