(written from a Production point of view)
Steve Ihnat (7 August 1934 – 12 May 1972; age 37), born Stefan Ihnat, was the actor, writer, and director who played the legendary Fleet Captain Garth in the Star Trek: The Original Series third season episode "Whom Gods Destroy". He filmed his scenes between Tuesday 15 October 1968 and Tuesday 22 October 1968 at Desilu Stage 9 and Stage 10.
He was born in Czechoslovakia but immigrated to Canada with his family when he was five years old. In the 1950s, he moved to the United States to pursue an acting career.
On television, Ihnat guest-starred on several episodes of Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Mission: Impossible, Mannix, and The F.B.I., the latter of which starred fellow TOS guest performer Stephen Brooks. One of Ihnat's later appearances on The F.B.I. (after Brooks left the show) featured several other TOS guest stars: Paul Carr, Clint Howard, Richard Evans, and Paul Fix.
In 1963, Ihnat guest-starred on the western television series Temple Houston, which starred Jeffrey Hunter in the title role. Ihnat again worked with Hunter on the 1965 film Brainstorm.
Ihnat worked frequently with director James Goldstone between 1964 and 1966. Their first collaboration was an episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, along with Jill Ireland and David Opatoshu. This was followed by a two-parter of The Outer Limits and episodes of The Fugitive, Rawhide (with John Anderson), Perry Mason, Blue Light, and The Iron Horse. On the latter, Ihnat again worked with TOS regular James Doohan.
In 1965, Ihnat was the star of an unsold pilot called Police Story, written by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. TOS stars DeForest Kelley and Grace Lee Whitney had supporting roles in this pilot, as did TOS guest star Malachi Throne. The pilot was eventually aired in 1967.
Ihnat also made appearances in a handful of films. One of his earliest films was one which he co-wrote, a 1963 drama entitled Strike Me Deadly. He later had a supporting role in the 1966 drama The Chase, which was followed by a role in the 1967 spy comedy In Like Flint. In the latter, he worked for the first time with his "Whom Gods Destroy" co-star Yvonne Craig.
Ihnat next played Andy Warshaw in the 1967 western film Hour of the Gun, working alongside William Windom, William Schallert, Monte Markham, Robert Phillips, and Dave Perna; the film featured music by Jerry Goldsmith. Ihnat then had a role in Robert Altman's 1968 science fiction film Countdown, which featured music by Leonard Rosenman, which was followed by the crime drama Madigan that same year. The latter also starred fellow Trek alumni Michael Dunn, Lloyd Haynes, and Gloria Calomee.
After working with director Richard Colla on the 1969 TV movie The Whole World Is Watching, Ihnat and Colla reteamed for two feature films: Zigzag (1970) and Fuzz (1972). Both of these films co-starred Stewart Moss; the former also featured William Marshall and Vic Perrin. Fuzz proved to be Ihnat's last feature film appearance.
Ihnat also wrote and directed a pair of films, 1970's Do Not Throw Cushions Into the Ring and 1972's The Honkers. He starred in the former film along with Sally Carter, whom he married on 23 May 1970.
A heart attack claimed Steve Ihnat's life in 1972; he was only 37 years old. He was attending the Cannes film festival promoting The Honkers when he died. He was survived by his wife of nearly two years, Sally, and their two children. Ihnat's final work was a leading role in Hunter, a TV movie thriller which co-starred Bill Erwin, Sabrina Scharf, John Schuck, Fritz Weaver, and Jason Wingreen. This movie aired on CBS in January 1973, nearly eight months after Ihnat's death.
Other Trek connections
- The Virginian episodes "The Fatal Journey" (1963, with Robert Lansing and Vic Perrin), "The Hero" (1964, with Chuck Courtney and Warren Stevens), and "Last Grave at Socorro Creek" (1969, with Don Keefer and directed by Leo Penn)
- Channing episode "Christmas Day Is Breaking Wan" (1964) with Michael J. Pollard
- Dr. Kildare episode "The Hand That Hurts, the Hand That Heals" (1964), directed by Leo Penn
- Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre episode "A Case of Armed Robbery" (1964) directed by Herschel Daugherty
- Honey West episode "A Million Bucks in Anybody's Language" (1965), The Big Valley episode "Teacher of Outlaws" (1966), and The Iron Horse episode "The Silver Bullet" with Ken Lynch (the latter directed by Tony Leader and written by Oliver Crawford)
- Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Duplicate case" (1965) with Susan Bay
- Shane episode "The Bitter, the Lonely" (1966) directed by Gerd Oswald and co-starring Jill Ireland
- Felony Squad episode "Target!" (1967) with Angelique Pettyjohn and Jason Wingreen
- The Fugitive episode "The Walls of Night" (1967) directed by John Meredyth Lucas and co-starring Tige Andrews
- Cimarron Strip episode "The Hunted" (1967) with Arthur Batanides, James Gregory, Stephen McEveety, and Vic Tayback
- Ironside episode "The Fourteenth Runner" (1967) with Gene Lyons
- It Takes a Thief episode "Turnabout" (1968) with Lawrence Montaigne and Malachi Throne
- Marcus Welby, M.D. episode "The Foal" (1969) with Robert Ellenstein
- The Name of the Game episode "Chains of Command" (1969) with Paul Fix
- Then Came Bronson episode "Two Percent of Nothing" (1969) written by D.C. Fontana and co-starring Percy Rodriguez
- The Young Rebels episode "Suicide Squad" (1970) with Alex Henteloff and Paul Carr
- Bracken's World episode "The Nude Scene" (1970) with Jason Wingreen
- Cade's County episode "Dead Past" (1972) with William Wintersole