Australian actor starred on 'Matlock Police'

Australian actor and filmmaker Michael Pate died of respiratory failure Sept.1 near Sydney. He was 88.

Born in Sydney, Pate started writing and broadcasting at the age of 18 with the Australian Broadcasting Corp. before he became a star on radio and onstage at the old Minerva theater in Kings Cross.

Charles Chauvel cast him in “Forty Thousand Horsemen” and after serving in WWII he came back to Australia to star in “Sons of Mathew” and “Bitter Springs” with Chips Rafferty.

Together with thesps Peter Finch and Rod Taylor, Pate pioneered the path from Australia to Hollywood in the 1950s where he appeared in 50 features and over 300 TV shows. They included “Hondo,” “Escape from Fort Bravo” and Sam Peckinpah’s “Major Dundee.”

He returned to Oz in the late 1960s and became a TV star in copshow “Matlock Police.”

He then moved into writing, producing and directing, with “The Mango Tree” in 1977 and in 1979 with “Tim,” based on Colleen McCullough’s best seller, starring a very young Mel Gibson.

He produced these with his casting director wife Felippa and his son Christopher Pate.

A member of Oz’s Cinema Pioneers, AMPAS and a long time member of Oz’s Film and Television Production Association, Pate was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 1990.

He is survived by his wife Filippa, son Christopher, five grandchildren and two great- grandchildren.

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