One would think I only do a post when a celebrity passes
on, as it’s been a while since I did my last post.
I had decided to have a spell from blogging, even before
Peter from Holtieshouse had decided also to stop blogging.
Mind you Peter only stopped for a short time before he
re-started with a different format.
I had a fairly long break, and I even stopped reading those
bloggers on my list, so I must do a little bit of catching up.
This post is about Michael Pate, an Australian actor who has
just departed into that great big studio in the sky. Michael is
well know by most of the “older” generation and properly
not know by today’s cinema going younger audience.
No doubt a lot of the American audience may remember
Michael as he spent quite some time living and working on
over 300 T.V. shows and appeared in over 50 movies
(of which a lot of those where filmed in the
A lot of his films I have seen and he was a well known and
loved Aussie actor. Besides appearing in films he also
produced, wrote screen plays, and directed some movies.
He also appeared in a number of live theater productions.
Michael Pate was born on 26 February 1920 in Drummoyne,
Sydney. In 1938, he became a writer and broadcaster for
the Australian Broadcasting Commission. During World War II,
Pate served in the Australian Army in the South West Pacific Area.
After the war, Pate returned to radio, appearing in many
plays and serials. Between 1946 and 1950 he began breaking
into films. In 1949 he appeared in his first leading role in
“Sons of Matthew”. In 1950 he appeared in “Bitter Springs”
with Tommy Trinder and Chips Rafferty.
In 1950 he travelled to the
adaptation of Bonaventure for Universal Pictures.
This was released in 1951 as Thunder on the Hill,
starring Claudette Colbert and Ann Blyth. In 1956
he appeared in the film The Court Jester with Danny Kaye.
Pate spent most of the 1950s in the
over 300 TV shows. Most notable among these was a
1953 Climax! live production of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale,
in which Pate played the role of "Clarence Leiter"
(instead of Felix, in the credits), opposite Barry Nelson's
"Jimmy (James) Bond".
Pate also said he got a reputation in
Indians in western movies, even though they involved only
10 of his 50 film roles.
Michael enjoyed a successful career as a television
character actor, appearing repeatedly on such programs
as Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, Branded, The Virginian,
Batman, Mission: Impossible ("Trek"), The Man from
U.N.C.L.E., Get Smart, Rawhide ("Incident of the Power
and the Plow"), and Wagon Train.
Just a few of the films Michael appeared in and as you
can see he co-starred with a lot of well know famous actors.
John Wayne was a close friend and he specifically asked for
Michael to appear as a Indian in the film “Hondo”.
“The Court Jester” with Danny Kaye.
“Hondo” and “McLintock” with John Wayne.
“Mad Dog Morgan” with Dennis Hopper.
A little bit of trivia: Hopper came to
role of Mad Dog Morgan, a bushranger, similar to the bank
and stage coach robber in the American west. On one
occasion Hopper was so high on drugs he was pulled
over by the police for apparent drunken driving and was
fined and forbidden to ever drive on Victorian roads again.
was written by Michael Pate).
“Julius Caesar” with Marlon Brando.
“Major Dundee” with Charlton Heston.
“Sergeants 3” with the Rat Pack.
“A Lawless Street” with
In the 1963 movie "PT 109" he played the part of Arthur
Reginald Evans,the Australian coast watcher who helped
rescue John F. Kennedy and his crew.
Cliff Robertson played the part of JFK and a host of
TV actors including Ty Hardin, James Gregory, Robert Culp
Grant Williams and Robert Blake also appeared in this film.
Michael Pate played the role of Lt. Reginald Evans.
In 1968, Pate returned to Australia and from 1971 to 1975
he starred as Detective Sergeant Vic Maddern in“Matlock
Police” which was an Australian TV crime drama series
revolving around the lives of a group of country based
policemen whose backgrounds and private lives were an
integral part of the series. At the time “Matlock Police”
had the biggest budget and was the most highly publicised
show. The town of
about 100 miles from
17,300. Michael won a Penguin Award for best actor during his
four years on the program.
Pate was associate producer for the
of Norman Lindsay's “Age of Consent” with James Mason
and Helen Mirren. This film raised a few eyebrows when
released due to the amount of nude scenes of Helen Mirren.
In 1977 he wrote and produced “The Mango Tree”
starring his son Christopher Pate and Robert Helpmann
as the town drunk.
Michael in Indian costume with his son, Christopher.
Pate continued working in theater in both Sydney and
Melbourne. In 1979, he adapted the screenplay for “Tim”
from the novel by Colleen McCullough. The story is about
the relationship between an older woman (Piper Laurie)
and a retarded young man (Mel Gibson). For his adaptation,
Pate won the Best Screenplay Award from the Australian
Michael retired in 2001. He was married to Felippa Rock,
daughter of American film producer Joe Rock. He died on
a chest infection and is survived by his wife and son
Christopher, both of whom are actors.
He leaves a large range of TV shows and movies, that with
the number of DVD’s available of movies he appeared in and
also of box sets on DVD of TV shows Michael will be with us
for years to come to watch and enjoy his many and varied
performances. He was an actor with a wide range of believable
characters and his experience in front and behind the camera
will be surely missed.