Active in Australian radio and stage productions from childhood, Sydney native Michael Pate made his first film in 1949 on his home turf. Pate then moved to Hollywood, where he settled into villainous or obstreperous roles. He is best remembered for his portrayal of Indian chief Vittoro in John Wayne's Hondo (1953), a part he recreated for the 1966 weekly TV adaptation of Hondo, which top-billed Ralph Taeger. Other career highlights include the 1954 TV adaptation of Ian Fleming's James Bond novel Casino Royale, wherein Pate became the first actor to play CIA agent Felix Leiter (though both the character's name and nationality were changed), and PT 109 (1963), in which Pate played the Australian mariner who harangued future President John F. Kennedy (Cliff Robertson).During his Hollywood stay, Pate occasionally dabbled in screenwriting, collaborating on the scripts of Escape from Fort Bravo (1953) and The Most Dangerous Man Alive (1961). In 1968 he returned to Australia where, with such rare exceptions as the weekly TVer Matlock Police, he curtailed his performing activities to concentrate on producing, writing and directing. He produced the 1969 feature film Age of Consent, and later was put in charge of production of Amalgamated Television in Sydney. He made his feature-film directorial debut with the TV movie Tim (1979), which boasted an impressive early starring performance by Mel Gibson. He also adapted the screenplay of Tim from the novel by Colleen McCullough, earning the Australian equivalent of the Emmy Award for his efforts. Michael Pate is the author of two instructional books, The Film Actor and The Director's Eye.
by Hal Erickson biography