Malachi Throne, Actor on TV, Dies at 84
By DANIEL E. SLOTNIK
Malachi Throne, a character actor best known for playing Robert Wagner’s boss on the ABC spy series “It Takes a Thief” and a villain on “Batman,” died on March 13 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 84.
The cause was complications from lung cancer, his wife, Marjorie, said.
Mr. Throne was a brawny, deep-voiced mainstay on television for nearly 50 years. He appeared on everything from “The Untouchables” in the early 1960s to “The West Wing” in 2002, and was one of the few actors seen on both Gene Roddenberry’s original “Star Trek” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”
On “Batman,” in a two-part episode in 1966, he played False-Face, a criminal master of disguise whose visage is never fully revealed. For a time, Mr. Throne’s own identity remained a mystery; a question mark, rather than his name, appeared in the credits after Part 1, leading to wide speculation among fans.
“Every P.R. man in Hollywood started the wheels turning, that it was Frank Sinatra who was supposed to be False-Face; Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford — the whole Rat Pack,” Mr. Throne once told The Asbury Park Press. His identity was revealed at the end of the second installment.
Mr. Throne’s longest recurring part was on “It Takes a Thief.” From the show’s debut in 1968 until not long before it ended its short run, in 1970, he played Noah Bain, the boss of Alexander Mundy, a cat burglar and pickpocket turned government agent.
Malachi Throne was born on Dec. 1, 1928, in New York City and grew up in the Bronx. He attended Brooklyn College, served in the Army during the Korean War and acted on Broadway in Reginald Lawrence’s “Legend of Lizzie” and other plays. He also had a small role in the 2002 film “Catch Me if You Can.”
In addition to his wife, the former Marjorie Bernstein, he is survived by two sons, Zachary and Joshua, from his marriage to Judith Merians; a stepdaughter, Jill Chase; a stepson, Gary Kwawer; two grandchildren; and a sister, Sherry Lazan.