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Malachi Throne Dies At Age 84

Veteran character actor Malachi Throne’s death was announced on March 14, 2013. Throne was well-known to Star Trek fans for his role as Commodore Mendez in the two-part episode “The Menagerie,” but he had more connections to Trek and other high-profile genre productions over the course of his lengthy career.  

 

 

Malachi Throne dies at age 84

Malachi Throne was born in 1928 and began acting in theater productions at a young age, building up an impressive resume of stage work in New York before relocating to Los Angeles, where he became a familiar face in dozens of network television appearances. He appeared with William Shatner in the Outer Limits episode “Cold Hands, Warm Heart” and made an appearance on the spy series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. before providing the voice of the Talosian leader in the first Star Trek pilot, “The Cage.” When the series was picked up by NBC, Gene Roddenberry approached Throne for the role of Dr. McCoy—but Throne was only interested in the role of Spock, which was already cast. Not wanting to play the number three role in the series, Throne turned down the job. He was later cast as Commodore Mendez for “The Menagerie.” .


Malachi Throne as Mendez in "Star Trek" and Pardek in "Star Trek: The Next Generation"

Throne earned himself some major publicity by playing the role of Falseface, one of the villains in the ABC hit Batman, in 1966. He initially refused credit for the character (whose face is never seen) after finding out an actress cast in the episode was earning more money than him. When the identity of Falseface became an overnight watercooler discussion (Batman episodes aired in two parts on successive prime time evenings), Throne agreed to take credit for playing Falseface in the second episode. He had an even meatier role in the Lost in Space episode “The Thief from Outer Space,” playing an Arabian Nights-style, interstellar con man opposite Ted Cassidy (who also made several Star Trek appearances), who befriends Will Robinson but ultimately loses the boy’s trust. Throne also made appearances in The Wild Wild West, The Time Tunnel (once playing Machiavelli) and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (where he once played the ghost of Blackbeard the
pirate). He was probably best known to television audiences for his regular role of Noah Bain, Robert Wagner’s superior, on the action series It Takes A Thief, but he also appeared in Mission: Impossible, Land of the Giants, a 1975 Superman TV movie, The Six Million Dollar Man, the Saturday morning sic-fi series Ark II (as War Lord Brack), Project U.F.O., Babylon 5 (as the Centauri Prime Minister), as the voice of God in Animaniacs, and played Romulan Senator Pardek in the two-part Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Unification,” making him one of a select few of actors who appeared both in the original Star Trek series and one of its spin-offs.


Throne as False Face in "Batman" and as Noah Bain with Robert Wagner in  "It Takes A Thief"

Malachi Throne’s distinctively low, authoritative voice made him a natural for voiceover work and he did one job that certainly lurks in the memories of anyone old enough to remember seeing the original Star Wars in theaters: Throne narrated the first trailer for Star Wars, before John Williams’ familiar music had been recorded. “It’s a tale of heroes…and villains…” Throne’s sepulchral voice intoned, giving the impression that the upcoming space fantasy might be more scary than thrilling.


Original 1977 "Star Wars" trailer narrated by Throne

Throne made a final Star Trek appearance in the fan-produced Star Trek: New Voyages episode “In Harms Way.” I was on the set the day Throne was filming his segment and got to spend a highly enjoyable afternoon speaking with the actor and watching him work. He was a charming, highly intelligent and enormously talented man with a sly, sometimes cutting sense of humor—he didn’t suffer fools gladly but he was gracious and generous to those he worked with. I doubt anyone who grew up on genre television between the sixties and the eighties didn’t watch and enjoy a performance by Throne at least a couple of times.


Throne in fan series "Star Trek: New Voyages"

 

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Michael Hall
March 14, 2013 6:02 pm

“The Menagerie” still remains the best two hours of Trek ever committed to film, and Jose Mendez one of its most indelible characters. Going back into Trek history almost as far as anyone, Throne also provided the original voice for The Keeper in “The Cage,” and was a regular fixture on American television during the Sixties and after. He will be missed.

Your Father's Star trek
March 14, 2013 6:05 pm

A great character actor who entertained us for many years.

RIP, Commodore.

March 14, 2013 6:07 pm

Thank you Jeff for another well-written remembrance, and for a great character actor for Star Trek and beyond. RIP Mr. Throne

Maltz
March 14, 2013 6:08 pm

I thought Vic Perrin did the voice-over for The Keeper in “The Menagerie”.

ObsessiveStarTrekFan
March 14, 2013 6:10 pm

I remember him fondly from The Menagerie. Somehow, I had missed the fact that he also played Senator Pardek.

Jonboc
March 14, 2013 6:29 pm

I had the pleasure to meet him a few years ago at a convention. He was very approachable and handled his own money at the autograph table. And the man was the sheer definition of “character actor”. What a great career and all those incredible connections to Trek is just pure gravy…he will be missed.

Masshuu il Thulcandra
March 14, 2013 6:35 pm

The picture directly above the comments is not of Malachi Throne as ‘Mendes ‘but as the Klingon Korogh “IN HARMS WAY” STAR TREK NEW VOYAGES.
Outstanding character actor.

David G.
March 14, 2013 6:36 pm
Dang. Had hoped to get the chance to meet him at a Star Trek convention sometime. I think this also brings us down to about 7 surviving “Batman” villains. Not sure about one piece of the info presented here regarding the back-story about the credit on the False Face role in “Batman”, though. I’ve read in one of the histories someplace that — back at the time when everybody was seeking an opportunity to get cast as the show’s special guest villain — Malachi didn’t like the fact that his name got replaced with the gimmicky “?” that was put there. His name only appears during the ending credit on the 2nd of the 2 parts. There’s also a logistical question regarding the claim that “water cooler talk” would’ve caused his name would’ve been added there between the time the 1st part was aired on a Wednesday night and the time the 2nd part came on the following evening. Back in 1966, TV episodes would’ve been cut together on film in Los Angeles, then sent by plane for broadcast from New York (no digital editing, or beaming-it-to-NY-by-satellite back then). Not impossible, but it seems like a little bit of a stretch that the ending credits on part 2 would’ve been changed so quickly. Interesting how many “Trek” people later showed up on “6 Million Dollar Man” … even with Harve Bennett creating the Lee Majors show and later on taking the helm of the “Trek” movies.
Ensign RedShirt
March 14, 2013 6:36 pm

Fantastic work, Jeff. A great remembrance of a great actor. He always brought a level of gravitas to his work that I really enjoyed. RIP.

Copper Based Blood
March 14, 2013 6:40 pm

#6 Jonboc

Yes I too met him at a convention in the UK. A very warm, Friendly, Genuine person, who actually spent a lot of time talking with me.

will be missed.

Crone
March 14, 2013 6:42 pm

Oh no! Sad to hear.

Sybok
March 14, 2013 6:43 pm

A Class Act.

Chris Roberts
March 14, 2013 6:48 pm

R.I.P. Malachi Throne.

“He was later cast as Commodore Mendez for ‘The Menagerie’, and in order to prevent confusion his vocal work for the Talosian leader played by Meg Wylie was redubbed (most likely by James Doohan).”

Are we sure about this? I thought the Keeper’s voice remained Throne’s voice… It was electronically treated to sound different in the TOS two-parter, a mix of his original voice-over and that in 1987’s reconstruction of “The Cage” and retrospectively corrected to all match for the DVD and Blu-rays.

Gary S
March 14, 2013 6:51 pm

11. that was my reaction too.
A Great Character Actor .
He will be missed .

CanOpener1256
March 14, 2013 6:52 pm

Wow! I just finished watching the batman episode with false face not 10 minutes ago on You Tube. Now I come here and read that the actor died. I am having a Twilight Zone moment!

VorpalK
March 14, 2013 6:56 pm

An amazing talent, and to all accounts a genuinely great person to meet. I regret that I never had the opportunity.

DWI
March 14, 2013 6:58 pm

13. Yep. Compare Throne’s work as the Keeper from the B&W footage from the 1986-ish VHS to the remastered Blu-Ray – same exact inflection, timbre, and dialect – just electronicly enhanced and sped up. But it’s definitely Throne’s performance.

I'm Dead Jim!
March 14, 2013 7:01 pm

How interesting it is that the TNG episode he appeared in also included Nimoy!

RIP Mr. Throne.

dmduncan
March 14, 2013 7:10 pm

Bon voyage, Mr. Throne.

Terence T
March 14, 2013 7:38 pm

Wow, I remember a lot of the roles that he did that were listed there. I’ve seen him all over the place through my years of watching reruns. I’m sorry to hear of his passing.

rm10019
March 14, 2013 7:41 pm

Sad to read this. My hat is off to you, Mr. Throne!

scotpens
March 14, 2013 7:45 pm

Throne’s voice as the Talosian Keeper was not redubbed by another actor, nor was it “sped up”; technically speaking, for the two-part “Menagerie” episode. The pitch of his voice was altered using an analog reel-to-reel tape device known as an Eltro Information Rate Changer. Even back in the 1960s, audio engineers had some neat tricks up their sleeves.

March 14, 2013 7:45 pm

Watched “The Menagerie” endlessly throughout high school in the mid-eighties. My all-time favorite Trek episode, with Mendez being one of the finest-drawn secondary characters of the entire series, maybe the franchise; Throne actualized a realistic, stressed-out bureaucrat long before such a role had become over-stereotyped on television.

“The fact remains that your first officer’s former captain is hospitalized, horribly injured at this base, and that same first officer seems to be the only one who heard that message!”

He will be dearly missed.

AJ
March 14, 2013 7:50 pm

RIP, Sir.

A great actor and contributor to Star Trek.

Kev-1
March 14, 2013 8:13 pm

Great actor. Just saw him in a “High Chaparral” repeat. Repeat, great actor. Sad to hear this.

March 14, 2013 8:18 pm

Love Malachi Throne, his voice is unmistakable. He did a lot of voice acting in cartoons in the ’70s through early ‘2000s as well. RIP.

jeff Bond
March 14, 2013 8:18 pm

I’ll change the part about redubbing the Talosian; the new voice is similar to some of the ones Doohand did for the series (and the Animated Series) but if people know otherwise that should be noted.

RJB
March 14, 2013 8:22 pm

What a wonderful character actor. I’ve been a fan of his for close to 50 years. I can’t think of him ever giving a bad performance. RIP, Mr. Throne, you leave behind a great legacy.

H.Hill
March 14, 2013 8:25 pm

I’ve seen that Star Wars trailer a few times and always thought it was Orson Welles narrating.

Brett L.
March 14, 2013 8:26 pm

A superb actor with a great voice, he was a unique link between TOS and TNG. Few can claim they were there from the very beginning.

Hugh Hoyland
March 14, 2013 8:48 pm

Thanks for the great job you did in those Trek episodes (especially the Menagerie) Mr. Throne! And although I havent seen a great deal of your other work I’m sure its top notch as well.

well done.

DonDonP1
March 14, 2013 9:04 pm

I send my condolences to the family and friends of Malachi Throne. May he rest in peace.

Red Shirt Diaries
March 14, 2013 9:14 pm

It scares me that all of these TOS actors are dying in their 80s! Why wont JJ include them while he still can honor their legacy? Please honor Shatter and Nimoy together in new Trek while you still
can!

John Bigbootee
March 14, 2013 9:35 pm

Godspeed, and thank you, Mr. Throne.

RIP, a great actor
March 14, 2013 9:37 pm

Now instead of Malachi Throne, he’s Malachi BONES!

Dan
March 14, 2013 9:48 pm

RIP Mr. Throne, loved your work!!

Red Shirt Diaries
March 14, 2013 9:49 pm

Where are you Bob Orci! If you are a true fan you will find a way for Shatter and Nimoy to seal their legacy be
ore its to late!

vantheman77
March 14, 2013 9:50 pm

I will remember him as Commodore Mendez, False Face, and Pardek. He was a staple in television and will be missed by his family, friends, and the show business community.

ug
March 14, 2013 9:56 pm

“Now instead of Malachi Throne, he’s Malachi BONES!”

That was rather tasteless. Why do you come here just to insult the departed?

RIP, a great actor
March 14, 2013 10:36 pm

#39,
How typical that you totally ignored the fact that I also wrote “RIP, a great actor”. Like everything has to be so damn serious 24/7 – come off it. He had a great life, acted brilliantly in a lot of memorable roles, and died in his 80’s – as far as I can see, this is a Win Win for everyone. There’s no insult in declaring him to be bones now, because he kind of is …

I think I might watch Menagerie now, to purge your inane comment from my mind!

GarySeven
March 14, 2013 10:39 pm

I met him at a convention too. I told him how touched I was by his work in “The Menagerie,” and how Star Trek changed my life. I remember being struck by his poignant response: “You, me, and all of us too.” Thank you, Malachi Throne, and RIP.

Jack
March 14, 2013 11:18 pm

I’d always hoped to see even more of him in Trek (and in other stuff) — and wished he hadn’t been hidden under makeup in that TNG episode.

Wow. I hadn’t known about the Star Wars trailer. Neat.

A nicely written piece, Jeff. Thanks.

cd
March 14, 2013 11:59 pm

Interesting that he could have been Dr. McCoy. And I did not know he did the head Talosian’s voice! Great voice, great character actor in all those shows, and I always thought ‘Malachi Throne’ was a cool name! Rest In Peace, sir.

March 15, 2013 12:58 am

@35. RIP, a great actor

Tasteless comment.

DWI
March 15, 2013 2:15 am

@22 – Thanx for the info. Technology is great! [Kyp Dynamite] Yeth, I love technolojee, but not ath much ath you, you see! But thtill I love technology; Alwayth and forever.” [/Kyp]

March 15, 2013 4:25 am
Wow! I didn’t know. Throne was always one of my favorites. I remember being pleased to see him as a print shop worker in “Catch me if you Can” a few years ago. – pleased he was still around. I always listened for him in commercial voice over work As I read this article I thought, “wow Anthony’s hitting all the highlights I remember him from too”. Then I looked back up and noticed Jeff Bond had written it. Should have known. I like that historian aspect o you Jeff. Those are the kind of things I both amaze and bore my wife with. Credit where credit is due. That’s a good thing. There needs to be more of that in the world, my opinion. His false face was always the most intriguing of all the villains to me. And a much better one than the Two Face I’ve heard they shied away from. This was a better substitution anyway. His voice behind an unmovable mask was very effective as a kid. Still is to me. I had a whole schedule of shows I had to watch in the summer as a kid. I devoured TV . Some I’m not sure why I even watched,…starting with the Flying Nun and That Girl at 8:00 in the morning….leading up to what I really wanted to watch at 11:00 just before lunch – “It Takes a Thief”. Hearing him in the opening credits was such a cool concept to me,…”Oh look Al,… Read more »
bmar
March 15, 2013 5:25 am

And lest we forget, not only was he a great character actor – he just had one of the coolest names in the world. “Malachai Throne” is just a darn great name. And, from what I understand, it’s not even an actor’s stage name – it was his real name.

Great actor. Great voice. Great name.

RIP.

bmar
March 15, 2013 5:26 am

Apologies – Malachi, not Malachai

Caesar
March 15, 2013 5:28 am

Can’t say it any better than most of the comments here–in pace requescat.

CmdrR
March 15, 2013 5:49 am

An era passes.

Thank you and RIP.

Loved It Takes a Thief.

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