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Michael Pate (26 February 1920 – 1 September 2008) was an Australian actor and writer.

Biography

He was born Edward John Pate in Drummoynemarker, Sydneymarker.

In 1938, he became a writer and broadcaster for the Australian Broadcasting Commissionmarker, collaborating with George Ivan Smith on Youth Speaks. For the remainder of the 1930s, he worked primarily in radio drama. He also published theatrical and literary criticism. He enjoyed brief success as an author of short stories, publishing works in Australia and the United Statesmarker.

During World War II, Pate served in the Australian Army in the South West Pacific Area. He was transferred to the 1st Australian Army Amenities Entertainment Unit, known as "The Islanders", entertaining Australian troops in various combat areas.

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.

Also in 1950, Pate adapted, produced, and directed two plays — Dark of the Moon and Bonaventure. Later that year he travelled to the U.S. to appear in a film 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.

Pate spent most of the 1950s in the U.S., appearing in over three hundred TV shows and many films. 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", opposite Barry Nelson's "Jimmy Bond". On the big screen, he played the one-scene role of Flavius in Julius Caesar, the 1953 film adaptation of William Shakespeare's play.

During his time in the U.S., Pate became an acting instructor and lecturer, and wrote many screenplays and teleplays for the major American networks. In 1959, he returned briefly to Australia, where he starred in the TV program The Shell Hour. He returned to the U.S. for another eight years, during which he 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. 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.

In 1968, Pate returned to Australia and became a television producer, winning two Logie Awards while working at the Seven Network. In 1970, he published a textbook on acting, The Film Actor. From 1971 to 1975 he starred as Detective Sergeant Vic Maddern in Matlock Police. In 1977 he wrote and produced The Mango Tree, starring his son Christopher Pate.

Pate continued working in theatre in both Sydney and Melbournemarker. In 1979, he adapted the screenplay for Tim from the novel by Colleen McCullough. The film would star Mel Gibson and Piper Laurie. For his adaptation, Pate won the Best Screenplay Award from the Australian Writers Guild.

Pate also appeared (as the U.S. president) in The Return of Captain Invincible (1982), in which he sings "What the World Needs", a song calling for the return of Captain Invincible to save the World.

During the early 1980s Pate and his son Christopher collaborated in a stage production of Mass Appeal. This was a success, and closed with a season at the Sydney Opera Housemarker.

Although Pate retired from acting in 2001 he remained busy with voiceover work, and was writing a screenplay at the time of his death.

He was married to Felippa Rock, daughter of American film producer Joe Rock.

He died on 1 September 2008 at Gosfordmarker Hospital, of pneumonia and a chest infection.

References

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