Excellent, prolific and versatile character actor Michael Pataki had a long, varied and impressive career in both movies and TV shows, alike, that spanned a little over 50 years. Pataki was born on January 16, 1938 in Youngstown, Ohio. He attended the University of Southern California as a double major in Drama and Political Science. Michael made his film debut with an uncredited small part in the 1958 feature, Ten North Frederick (1958). However, it was his acclaimed acting on stage in 1966 at a summer stock festival in Edinburgh that really launched Pataki’s career. Although usually cast as mean and unlikable antagonistic characters, Michael on occasion portrayed more appealing folks with equal skill and conviction. Pataki gave a superbly chilling and compelling performance as vicious bloodsucker “Caleb Croft” in the creepy horror winner, Grave of the Vampire (1972). Other memorable roles included nasty biker “Snake” in The Dirt Gang (1972), Marianna Hill’s weak masochistic boyfriend “Dennis” in the perverse The Baby (1973), the lecherous “Sergeant Ward” in the crummy, The Bat People (1974), hi-jacker “Wilson” in Airport ’77 (1977), Dracula’s modern-day descendant “Michael Drake” in the hilariously horrible Dracula’s Dog (1977), sleazy bounty hunter “Harry Iverson” in The Glove (1979), hard-nosed “District Attorney Dino Fulgoni” in the splendidly gritty The Onion Field (1979), oddball cemetery caretaker “Sam” in the offbeat zombie doozy Dead & Buried (1981), ramrod Russian sports official “Nicoli Koloff” in Rocky IV (1985) and the stern “Dr. Hoffman” in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988). Pataki had a recurring role on the TV series, The Amazing Spider-Man (1977); he also appeared in the two spin-off theatrical pictures, Spider-Man (1970) and Spider-Man Strikes Back (1978). Among the numerous TV shows Michael made guest appearances on are The Twilight Zone (1959), Star Trek: The Original Series (1966), Combat! (1962), Rawhide (1959), My Favorite Martian (1963), Ben Casey (1961), Batman (1966), Mission: Impossible (1966), The Flying Nun (1967), Baretta (1975), Happy Days (1974), McCloud (1970), Barney Miller (1975), Little House on the Prairie (1974), Charlie’s Angels (1976), T.J. Hooker (1982), WKRP in Cincinnati (1978), Laverne & Shirley (1976), The Jeffersons (1975), The Fall Guy (1981), Airwolf (1987), St. Elsewhere (1982) and Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). Moreover, Pataki provided voices for cartoon television programs; he was especially notable as the voice of the demented “George Liquor” on The Ren & Stimpy Show (1991). Michael directed two low-budget 70s drive-in exploitation features for producer Charles Band: the potently unnerving horror shocker, Mansion of the Doomed (1976), and the amusingly silly soft-core comedy musical, Cinderella (1977). In addition, Pataki also worked as an acting coach. Michael died of cancer at age 72 on April 15, 2010 in North Hollywood, California.
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