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Passings : Michael Pate

Australian film, television actor

September 06, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Australian actor Michael Pate, 88, who appeared in dozens of films and was a regular guest star on U.S. television shows in the 1950s and '60s, died of respiratory failure Monday at a hospital in the Australian state of New South Wales.

Born in Sydney in 1920, Pate began his career as a writer and broadcaster for Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio before moving to the United States.

He spent almost 20 years in Hollywood, guest-starring in various westerns and a number of popular TV shows, including "Gunsmoke," "Hondo," "Rawhide," "The Rifleman" and "Zorro."

He acted in such 1950s films as "The Court Jester," "El Alamein," "PT 109" and "The Silver Chalice."

Pate returned to Australia in the late 1960s to act, write and direct. In the 1970s, he starred in the Australian crime drama "Matlock Police," for which he won a Penguin Award for best actor.

He also won two Logie Awards -- Australian television awards -- for television production and adapted the award-winning screenplay for the 1979 movie "Tim," starring Mel Gibson.

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