Monday, March 18, 2013

R.I.P. Malachi Throne.

There’s no way any fan of ‘60s television cannot be saddened at this news! 

The wonderful and ubiquitous character actor, Malachi Throne, passed away on March 13, 2013, at the age of 84. 

A list of Malachi Throne's many credits would amaze you.  Just limiting it to "some" of his sixties TV credits would be a virtual walk through my DVD collection: 

The Untouchables (Three times).

Perry Mason.

The Outer Limits.

The Fugitive  (Twice).

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (Three times, in roles as diverse as a Middle Eastern General, an Asian Scientist, and even Blackbeard the Pirate!).

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

I Spy.

Batman (as False Face).

Lost in Space.


The Wild Wild West.

The Time Tunnel (Twice).

Star Trek… and Star Trek the Next Generation (as different characters).

Throne: TOS and Throne: TNG.

Mission Impossible (Twice).

Land of the Giants. 

42 episodes, as a regular performer, on It Takes a Thief. 
It Takes a Thief -- with Bonus False Face Image! (at left)

…And that’s limiting it to my own collection of sixties TV.  It would take me many weeks (maybe months), just to watch all the Malachi Throne appearances in my sixties TV collection alone! 

Unlike others, Malachi Throne didn’t stop there, continuing to act in such 21 st century productions as The West Wing and the popular film “Catch Me if You Can”! 

Mr. Throne also performed in a myriad of voice acting roles, including Lancelot Link Secret Chimp, Batman The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, and was even “The Voice of God” in two episodes of Animaniacs! 

His deep and distinctive voice was long heard in commercials for Castrol Motor Oil. 

According to IMDB, his final role was providing a voice for THIS! 
In case you’re wondering, my favorite of all his roles was that of “The Thief of Outer Space” (1966) on Lost in Space. 

He was marvelously hammy, as he could often be, yet he exhibits an unexpected moment of poignancy when, during his “sword duel” with Guy Williams, he realizes that he has been betrayed by young Will Robinson (whom he was convinced, throughout the episode, was acting as his “assistant thief” and confidant) – and he just STOPS what had been joyous and overblown swordplay, as if his heart had been cut out! 
Hammy and blustery, as were many Lost in Space guest stars?  To be sure.  But, he found a way to almost turn on a dime at the realization that he was betrayed by a boy he came to trust and even nurture (in his own eccentric way) and exhibit enough pathos to make you even feel sorry for a sneaky, underhanded, sword-wielding thief.  That was something you didn’t often get from Lost in Space, but Malachi Throne delivered.
Throne the Thief and Ted Cassidy the Slave!

And he delivered as virtually ANYTHING… from a Star Fleet Commodore, to Machiavelli,  and even Blackbeard the Pirate!   
Throne, as Blackbeard the Pirate's Ghost on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Malachi Throne is the type of character actor that no longer exists today. 
I’ve yet to figure out if it’s because such parts are no longer written… or there are few, if any, actors capable of playing such roles with the relish of Malachi Throne.  (…and maybe that’s why the parts ARE no longer written!) 
Malachi Throne in recent years
Here’s a link to Mark Evanier’s obit for Malachi Throne, with a special emphasis on his turn as “False Face”.


Ryan Wynns said...


I don't believe I'd ever heard of him, but just going by the black-and-white photo at the top of your post, he strikes me as just the type of character actor I would rave about.

However, from your overview, I'd wager that I've seen (or heard) him at some point or another, but I've remained none the wiser...

-- Ryan

Joe Torcivia said...


Malachi Throne is an actor whom you cannot have failed to encounter, if you’ve existed at any time during the last 50-60 years with any meaningful degree of consciousness toward mass entertainment!

You must have at least heard his voice on the Batman Animated, Batman Beyond, and Animaniacs episodes.

I may have emphasized his ‘60s TV work because that is what’s most important to me, but look him up on IMDB and you will amazed at the sheer number of things he’s done – over many different eras.

…And, they don’t make ‘em like him anymore!

Anonymous said...

He had a great line that could be heard in the opening credits of It Takes a Thief: "Look, Al, we're not asking you to spy. We're just asking you to steal."

Joe Torcivia said...

Yes, a great line from one “Thief” to another!

It Takes a Thief shows that Throne could be “businesslike” (for lack of a more accurately descriptive word) as well as “hammy” as Space Thief, False Face, and Blackbeard. He was a true character actor, up to any and every challenge.