Malachi Throne (December 1, 1928 – March 13, 2013) was an American stage and television actor, noted for his guest-starring roles on Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, Batman, Land of the Giants, The Time Tunnel, Mission: Impossible, and The Six Million Dollar Man, and his recurring role on It Takes a Thief.
Throne was born in New York City to Samuel and Rebecca Throne. His parents immigrated to America from Austria-Hungary. Throne was raised in The Bronx. He first appeared on stage at the age of ten in 1939 in the New York Parks Department production of Tom Sawyer as Huckleberry Finn. He attended Brooklyn College, and served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
Throne was a popular guest star on many television series of the 1960s and 1970s, including Mr. Novak (four episodes), The Defenders, Naked City, The Wild Wild West, Ben Casey, The Untouchables, GE True, Combat!, The Fugitive, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (“The Four-Steps Affair” from 1965), Mannix (as Inspector Frank Kyler in the 1967 episode, “Run Sheep Run”), The High Chaparral, Hogan’s Heroes, and Lost in Space.
He co-starred, with Robert Wagner, in the ABC TV series, It Takes a Thief. Throne was a favorite actor of the TV producer Irwin Allen since he appeared in numerous roles in Allen’s series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Time Tunnel, Land of the Giants, and Lost in Space, often as several different characters in the same series.
Throne played in two episodes of Mission: Impossible on CBS-TV, during seasons one and four, as two different characters. Earlier in The Outer Limits TV series (Cold Hands, Warm Heart, 1964) he appeared with William Shatner who starred in that episode.
Throne provided the voice of “the Keeper” in the Star Trek’s first pilot episode, “The Cage” (1964). Not broadcast in its original form for many years, most of the episode was included within the two-parter “The Menagerie” (1966). As Throne was cast in another role in “The Menagerie”, Commodore José I. Mendez, the Keeper’s voice was electronically altered in pitch. On Star Trek: The Next Generation, Throne played Pardek, a Romulan senator, in the two-part episode “Unification”. In 2004, he appeared in the second episode of the New Voyages, entitled “In Harm’s Way”.
He played the villain “False Face” in the ABC Batman (1966) series. The character, who used a variety of disguises to effect his nefarious schemes, wore a semitransparent mask when not in the middle of his crimes. The mask rendered Throne’s real face unrecognizable on screen.
Playing off this effect, but against Throne’s wishes, the show’s producers wrote the onscreen credit as “? as False Face”, denying Throne his screen credit. However, at the end credits of “Holy Rat Race”, Throne’s full name was credited. Later, he appeared in animation as the voice of Two-Face’s superego “the Judge” on The New Batman Adventures (1998), and as the voice of Fingers the Gorilla on the Batman Beyond episode “Speak No Evil” (2000).
His film career was not as prolific as his television work, though he did have roles in films such as The Young Lovers (1964), Beau Geste (1966), Code Name: Heraclitus (1967), Assault on the Wayne (1971), The Greatest (1977), Stunts (1977) and Primary Motive (1992). He also had a small role in the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can.
Throne lived in Southern California, and he did much local theater work there. He was a member of the Theater West company in Hollywood. He also won critical acclaim for several performances with the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles. Much earlier in his career, he had appeared briefly on Broadway (as “Mal Thorne”) in Reginald Lawrence’s Legend of Lizzie, and other plays.
Throne died of lung cancer at his Brentwood, California home on March 13, 2013 at the age of 84. In addition to his widow and his sons by his first marriage to Judith Merians, he was survived by two step-children, two grandchildren, and a sister.