(written from a Production point of view)
Michael Pataki (16 January 1938 – 15 April 2010; age 72) was an actor whose first Star Trek role was that of Korax in the classic Star Trek: The Original Series second season episode "The Trouble with Tribbles". He later played Karnas in the Star Trek: The Next Generation first season episode "Too Short a Season". Footage of his role in "The Trouble with Tribbles" was used in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fifth season episode "Trials and Tribble-ations".
Early life and career
Pataki was born in Youngstown, Ohio, to Hungarian parents. He was a graduate of the University of Southern California, where he majored in drama and political science. Pataki had a career in film and on television which spanned over five decades. He made his debut with an uncredited role in the classic 1958 war film The Young Lions, which also featured fellow Trek alumni Parley Baer, Hal Baylor, Paul Comi, and Robert Ellenstein. Later that year, he made his first television appearance in an episode of M Squad, working with fellow TNG alum Bill Erwin.
Throughout the 1960s, Pataki acted predominantly on television, appearing on such series as The Twilight Zone (in a 1961 episode starring TOS actor Leonard Nimoy and Star Trek: Enterprise guest actor Dean Stockwell), Rawhide (with Paul Comi and John McLiam), My Favorite Martian (starring Ray Walston), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (with Arch Whiting and Jason Wingreen), and Mission: Impossible. Pataki also appeared in multiple episodes of the hit sitcom The Flying Nun, playing three different characters over the show's three seasons. Among those he worked with on this series were TOS actresses Susan Howard, Sandra Smith, Tanya Lemani, and Louise Sorel.
Pataki also appeared in two 1966 "King Tut" episodes of Batman, both co-starring Sid Haig and Marianna Hill. In 1969, Pataki appeared in his first feature film since the 1950s, playing one of the mimes in the classic biker film Easy Rider. TOS guest performers Sabrina Scharf and Robert Walker also had roles in this film. In the same year he appeared as the villainous J.C. in the movie The Sidehackers (also known as Five the Hard Way), which also included TOS guest actor Richard Merrifield and TNG actor/stuntman Erik Cord.
Career during the 1970s and 1980s
Pataki and fellow TOS guest actors Stewart Moss and Paul Carr frequently worked in films and made-for-TV movies from director Jerry Jameson. These productions included the films Brute Corps (1972, sans Moss), The Dirt Gang (1972, also with Michael Forest), The Bat People (1974), Airport '77 (1977, with Robert Foxworth and Robert Hooks but not Carr or Moss), and Raise the Titanic (1980, also with Mark L. Taylor and Michael Ensign). Pataki alone appeared in Jameson's TV movies The Call of the Wild (1976, with John McLiam), Superdome (1978, with Jane Wyatt), and The Cowboy and the Ballerina (1984, with Antoinette Bower and Christopher Lloyd).
In 1971, Pataki appeared in the B-movie The Return of Count Yorga. That same year, he also appeared in the classic science fiction film The Andromeda Strain, directed by Robert Wise, who went on to direct Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Both of these films featured performers from the TOS episode "All Our Yesterdays": Mariette Hartley appeared in the former, Kermit Murdock in the latter. (Bart LaRue and Garry Walberg also appeared in The Andromeda Strain.) The following year, Pataki appeared in an episode of the popular Western series Bonanza; a year later, he appeared on All in the Family (and would do so again in 1977), as well as Cannon with Stewart Moss and Arch Whiting and on the series Shaft with Michael Ansara and Ron Soble.
Pataki and TOS guest actress Marianna Hill, having previously worked together on two episodes of Batman, reunited for the 1973 horror film The Baby and the 1974 comedy The Last Porno Flick. Also in 1974, Pataki appeared in the TV movie Indict and Conflict with William Shatner. Pataki later co-starred with Shatner in the 1979 TV movie Disaster on the Coastliner and in a 1982 episode of T.J. Hooker, with Jonathan Banks, James Darren, and Richard Herd.
In 1974, Pataki also made the first of three appearances on the series McCloud, on which Ken Lynch was a regular. His first episode also featured Terri Garr, Eugene Roche, and Gregory Sierra. When he next appeared on the program in February 1976, Diana Muldaur had become a regular. Pataki and Muldaur were also seen in an episode of Ellery Queen, which aired earlier that month. Pataki's third episode of McCloud also featured Vince Howard. Pataki and Muldaur would later appear together in the 1982 Fitz and Bones TV movie Terror at Alcatraz, along with Roger C. Carmel, Elisha Cook, and Marc Lawrence.
In 1975, Pataki played the lead in the 1975 sexploitation film Carnal Madness. Two years later, he began playing one of his more well-known roles, as Captain Barbera in the 1977 TV movie The Amazing Spider-Man. This movie spawned a made-for-TV sequel called Spider-Man Strikes Back the following year, for which Pataki returned, and led to a short-lived cult TV series later in 1978. Pataki played Captain Barbera through both seasons of The Amazing Spider-Man, which aired from 1978 through 1979.
Pataki is well-remembered for his role as Count Mallachi in a three-part episode of the sitcom Happy Days in 1976. Cult movie fans will also remember him for playing Count Dracula in the 1978 B-movie classic Dracula's Dog, co-starring Jan Shutan. Also in 1978, Pataki appeared in the TV movie When Every Day Was the Fourth of July, which featuring his The Flying Nun co-star (and Trek alum) Louise Sorel as well as Michael Durrell, Bruce French, and Harris Yulin.
Pataki was one of the many Trek performers to appear in the acclaimed 1979 drama The Onion Field. Among his co-stars in this film were John Savage, Ronny Cox, Christopher Lloyd, Richard Herd (who also appeared with Pataki in TV's Marciano that same year), K Callan, Phillip Richard Allen, and John de Lancie. He also appeared in the popular horror comedy Love at First Bite with Robert Ellenstein that same year.
Pataki's career showed no sign of stopping by the time the 1980s arrived. In addition to appearances in such hit TV series as Charlie's Angels, WKRP in Cincinatti (with Sam Anderson and Robert Hooks), Laverne & Shirley (with David L. Lander and Michael McKean), The Jeffersons, Scarecrow and Mrs. King (including one episode with Stephen Macht), Cagney & Lacey (with Janet MacLachlan and Natalia Nogulich), and St. Elsewhere (with Ed Begley, Jr., Ronny Cox, Norman Lloyd, France Nuyen, Jennifer Savidge, Alfre Woodard, Jane Wyatt, and Star Trek: Voyager regular Robert Picardo), he also appeared in such major feature films as Dead & Buried (1981, with Ed Bakey, Glenn Morshower, and Bill Quinn), Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985, Star Trek: Voyager star Kate Mulgrew as well as George Coe, Patrick Kilpatrick and Jeff Allin), Rocky IV (1985, edited by John W. Wheeler), and Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988, music by Alan Howarth).
In addition, Pataki made numerous appearances on the series The Fall Guy, co-starring with Gary Lockwood. He and Lockwood also appeared in a 1988 episode of The Highwayman, which was a series starring a pre-Voyager Tim Russ.
Later career and death
By the 1990s, the majority of Pataki's work became voice-over roles on such animated shows as Batman, Ren & Stimpy, and Dexter's Laboratory. In the 2000s, he made on-screen appearances in a few low-budget independent films, including 2003's Edge of Nowhere. He most recently appeared in a film called Trim, which also featured Star Trek: Voyager regular Ethan Phillips.
Other Trek connections
- Letter to Loretta episode "Vengeance Is Thine" (1959) with Clegg Hoyt
- Ripcord episode "The Condemned" (1961) with Paul Comi
- Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater episode "A Slow Fade to Black" (1964) with Sally Kellerman
- Slattery's People episode "Question: What Did You Do All Day, Mr. Slattery?" (1965) with Whit Bissell and Don Keefer
- Ben Casey episode "Did Your Mother Come from Ireland, Ben Casey?" (1965) with Bill Mumy
- Dream No Evil (1970 film) with Marc Lawrence
- Dan August episode "Trackdown" (1971) with Stewart Moss
- They Call It Murder (1971 TV movie) with Vic Tayback
- Search episode "The Packagers" (1973) with Keith Andes
- A Man for Hanging (1973 TV movie) with Brooke Bundy, Paul Carr, and Walter Edmiston
- Kung Fu episodes "The Cenotaph" Parts 1 and 2 (1974) with Keye Luke
- Amy Prentiss episode "The Desperate World of Jane Doe" (1974) with Andrew Prine
- Harry O episode "Mister Five and Dime" (1976) with Anthony Zerbe
- Benny and Barney: Las Vegas Undercover (1977 TV movie) with Ted Cassidy
- The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries episode "The Mystery of the Solid Gold Kicker" (1977) with Marc Alaimo
- Airport '77 (1977) with Monte Markham
- Barney Miller episode "Rape" (1978) with Ron Glass and James Gregory
- Ruby and Oswald (1978) with Bruce French
- Alice episode "Mel's in a Family Way" (1978) with Vic Tayback
- The Pirate (1978 TV movie) with Jeff Corey
- The White Shadow episode "Little Orphan Abner" (1979) with Joan Pringle
- Samurai (1979 TV movie; with Don Keefer, Walt Davis, Johnny Haymer, Bob Minor, Tom Lupo and Gregory J. Barnett)
- Survival of Dana (1979 TV movie) with Barbara Babcock
- Eischied episode "The Dancer" (1979) with Alan Oppenheimer
- A Man Called Sloane episode "Architect of Evil" (1979) with Eric Server
- The Glove (1979 film) with Joanna Cassidy
- B.J. and the Bear episode "The Girls of Hollywood High" (1980) with Ed Lauter
- The Last Word (1980 film) with Dennis Christopher and Alex Henteloff
- Nero Wolfe episode "Sweet Revenge" (1981) with Ed Lauter and Kenneth Tigar
- Insight episode "God's Guerrillas" (1981) with Bibi Besch
- Maggie episode "Marriage Encounter" (1981) with Miriam Flynn
- Father Murphy episodes "Father Murphy" (1981) and "Will's Surprise" (1982) with Charles Cooper and Warren Munson; the former with Roy Jenson
- Night Shift (1982 film) with Vincent Schiavelli, Clint Howard, Jeanne Mori, and Gina Hecht
- One More Chance (1983 film) with Kirstie Alley
- Automan episode "The Great Pretender" (1983) with Richard Derr and Robert Lansing
- The Underachievers (1987 film) with Lee Arenberg and Vic Tayback
- Hollywood Hot Tubs 2: Educating Crystal (1990 film) with Spice Williams