Vale: Michael Pate

Australian actor, writer and director Michael Pate, best known for his role in Matlock Police, has died. He was 88.

The veteran actor with the deep, resonant voice passed away in Gosford Hospital after suffering pneumonia and a chest infection.

Pate began his career at the ABC in 1938 as a writer and broadcaster and served in the South Pacific during World War II. After the war he moved to the US where he achieved considerable success in more than 300 television shows during the 1950s and 60s including Batman, Mission Impossible, Get Smart, and Rawhide. The enigmatic Pate even played an Indian chiefs, including the role of Sitting Bull.

In Australia Pate starred in Matlock Police Det. Sgt. Vic Maddern between 1971-1975 and won an Australian Writers Guild award for adapting the screenplay for the movie Tim.

In later years Pate says, “I simply occupy my dotage by rattling my brains in front of my big, new computer – and whacking out a script from time to time.

“Problem is, I guess, nobody really ever thinks of me as a writer-for-hire – I’ve never hung out a shingle in this regard.”

He retired from acting in 2001 but maintained his interest in writing.

“Just previous to him going into hospital he was sitting at his computer,” family friend Jacqui Bosanac told the ABC.

“All he did was work … he was working on a script which hasn’t been finished and I think (son) Christopher’s going to try and finish it off.”

Pate is survived by his wife Felippa Rock and son Christopher Pate, both actors, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Sources: The Australian, ABC, Daily Telegraph, Urban Cinefile


  1. Another sad loss. I have just heard of the death of Kevin Heinze also. I remember Michale Pate in many of the roles mentioned – including that of Sitting Bull. What a varied career.

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