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RIP Michael Pataki

North Hollywood, Calif. — Prolific character actor Michael Pataki died here Thursday, April 15, of cancer. He was 72.
MSTies will remember him as megalomaniacal bad guy J.C. in episode 202 – THE SIDE HACKERS and the suspicious Sgt. Ward in episode 1010 – IT LIVES BY NIGHT. He also played Tony in episode K15- SUPERDOME.

His Variety obit is here.
No other media organizations have done an obit that I can find yet. If more show up, I will add to this post.

Thanks to Kathy for the heads up and for the awesome photo of Michael.

45 Replies to “RIP Michael Pataki”

  1. Mr. B(ob) says:

    Farewell Mr. Pataki. Another fine actor fondly remembered for his good work and and for one of the worst movies ever used on MST3K too now sadly gone.


  2. Rich says:

    Oh my god! JC died. God, that was a depressing movie, but he did carve a distinctive, awful character.


  3. Kathy says:

    That magnificent sonofabitch….

    Loved him since he told Scotty that the Enterprise should be hauled away as garbage….


  4. No! He was George Liquor. American! :mrgreen:


  5. Spector says:

    Yeah, Sidehackers was crappy but JC was a memorable nasty character. Pataki fortunately carved himself out a pretty solid career working mainly as a heavy, especially on TV in the 1970s and 80s, where he was in a lot of the top cop shows of those decades in one role or another. RIP, sir, you were enjoyed.


  6. mst3ktemple says:

    I just watched the Family Guy: Something Something Something Darkside a couple days ago and noticed his name in the credits. That had to be one of the last things he worked on. I need to go back and see what he actually did in the show.


  7. Kathy says:

    IMDB says that the Something, Something, Something Dark Side credit was “Archive Footage”….his role as “Nicoli Koloff”.


  8. I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    RIP JC


  9. Kathy says:

    BTW…looking through more of his IMDB listing…what WASN’T this guy in?

    Besides what the obit mentioned there was Easy Rider, “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea”, The Andromeda Strain, Love at First Bite, Raise the Titanic, had an uncredited part in Night Shift, Remo Williams, Rocky IV, Halloween 4…

    And there’s a unreleased film called Trim.

    Have to keep an eye out for that.


  10. bad wolf says:

    “JayyyyyyCeeeeee….” (rolls down hill) “Jayyseeee…”


  11. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    Goodnight, Mr. Pataki. I was rewatching Return of Count Yorga, and was surprised to see Michael Pataki in an all too short cameo. I hadn’t recognized him before. He was also great as Count Dracula in Zoltan, Hound of Hell.


  12. Chief?McCloud! says:

    Rest well sir…arguably the most memorable antagonist in a MST’D movie and a damn fine performance despite the film’s short-commings.

    Didn’t we love him? …..Gooch?


  13. Charles says:

    Zoltan, Hound of Dracula is the only movie I’ve seen where he stars. It’s a weird movie, definitely one that MST3K could have done.

    I knew him as George Liquor from Ren & Stimpy too before I realized he was such a prolific character actor. John K. must be heartbroken, he’s been trying to get a George Liquor show starring Pataki off the ground since 1993.

    You can hear Pataki with John K. in some audio commentaries on the Season 5 set of Ren & Stimpy. The commentary is really rambling but Pataki is quite funny.


  14. mikek says:

    RIP Michael Pataki.


  15. Edge10 says:

    ‘My own flesh I didn’t love better!’

    Rest easy Mr. Pataki, one of the good ones.


  16. This Guy says:

    “You’re right… I should. I didn’t mean to say that the Enterprise should be hauling garbage–I meant to say that it should be hauled away as garbage!”

    I hope you’ll all go out and massacre some tribbles in his honor.


  17. Timmy says:

    I would tend to agree that as J.C. he might have given the finest performance as a villain in MTS3K history–but I am partial to “Side Hackers,” the first episode I ever saw.

    One of the good dead ones.


  18. DrBlood says:

    “Everybody’s entitled to their opinion.”
    “That’s right. And if I think Kirk is a Denebian slime devil, then that’s my opinion, too.”


  19. The Toblerone Effect says:

    J.C. was really one of the most loathesome characters in MST history, and it wouldn’t have been possible without Patacki’s talents. RIP sir, you were enjoyed!


  20. Ted says:

    “Hold me closer, tiny dancer” – a mildly obscure punch line delivered by Pataki in an episode of WKRP.


  21. losingmydignity says:

    Ah, JC is gone.

    Has anyone seen him in the Baby? Watched it recently, and it was one weird mama jama. Very perverse but highly recommended.


  22. Mike says:

    But noooooooooooothing laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaassts, forrrrrrrrrrrreverrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
    Only loooooooooooooooooooooooooove. Only loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove.


  23. Magicvoice says:

    Wow, I just watched Grave of the Vampire and Graduation Day recently and now he’s gone. Plus they recently aired his Star Trek episode on KDOC here in LA.
    This guy was an awesome character actor. Grave of the Vampire is a creepy ’70s horror movie with a half vampire/half human long before Blade the comic book. Graduation Day is a slasher film where Pataki plays the polyester wearing Principal. It’s pretty bad but it is a lot of fun.


  24. Torgo's Pajamas says:

    So long, J.C, and R.I.P. You’re on to the Great Sidehack Track in the Sky where it’s okay to litter.


  25. PrivateIron says:

    A strong pair of strangling hands falls silent for the last time today. RIP

    Ted, Love the shout out to his WKRP Russian defector! That was a classic.


  26. trickymutha says:

    JC was big time in my house. We were introduced to the series through Sci-Fi, and I started picking up older CC episodes on VHS, with Sidehackers being one of the first ones available at my local FYE. Pataki’s role here goes down as the best sociopath on the series. With memorable lines and facial expressions, he was Shatner lite. Ironic he appeared in the most storied episode of another favorite series with the aforementioned. He also appeared on “All in the Family” in an episode centered on Archie’s chair.
    Mike referred to him as “character actor” in “It lives by night”- but when one contrasts his performance as the inquisitive bat sheriff with JC, it shows he was actually pretty good. In his honor, I’ll watch that episode in the next couple of days. Heck, I might even watch Superdome; after all, it has my Spartan man Bubba Smith in it also.
    Cancer is a horrible disease I hope we see eradicated soon. I understand another great one, who one could call Pataki a “lite” version of- Dennis Hopper, is fighting it.


  27. sauron says:

    The great Pataki was in the Trouble with Tribbles and directed the adult Cinderella with Cheryl Smith.
    Also was one creepy vampire in Grave of the Vampire written by the Sopronos creator David Chase.
    He will be missed!


  28. ck says:

    And he made JC an interesting (and almost
    likeable) character- for a psychopath. And
    consider that his girlfriend caused the trouble.


  29. Ang says:

    How have I not realized that JC and Sgt. Ward were the same person?! It Lives by Night is one of my faves and he was good as the kinda creepy sheriff. RIP.


  30. Howard says:

    Farewell, Mr. Pataki; may flights of angels wing thee to thy rest. Or something like that. J.C. is one of my favorite MST-movie characters.


  31. Sandwich Spread The Barbarian says:

    :sad: That sucks. Side Hackers was the first MST episode I ever saw, and J.C. was the best thing about it. It took me a while to realize he was the creepy cop from It Lives By Night, also one of my favorite episodes. Sad, sad, sad. Perhaps It Lives By Night could be on an upcoming box set? Hmm… yes? :???:


  32. Andrew says:

    I was like a brother to him!


  33. Gummo says:

    RIP, Mr. Pataki.

    I hope you’re chewing up all the scenery in Heaven.


  34. Zeroninety says:

    “Ah, straight into the arms of Sheriff Menacing W. Pervert!”

    “Hunter Thompson, Texas Ranger.”


  35. bobhoncho says:

    So long, boss. And stay away from Claire Polan while you’re up there!


  36. Josh says:

    I would put Pataki in my “Top Five Most Gifted Actors to Have Their Lesser Work Riffed on MST” list. He really was quite good given the right material. Check out his later work as the shady henchman in Soderbergh’s “The Limey”.


  37. Titanius Anglesmith, Fancy Man of Cornwood says:

    Mike Pataki never got to play the lead, but like Sid Haig, Jack Ging, Burt Mustin and countless others, his talent ensured that he’d always be in demand and always having a chance to do something different. His obit didn’t mention that he was a well-respected acting coach or his roles as Drago’s handler in “Rocky IV” or his role as Capt. Barbera in the live-action “Amazing Spider-Man” series in the 70s.


  38. Damn. I guess we can safely say now that John K. will never get that George Liquor Show he pitched to FOX onto something like Adult Swim. I’m sure John K. himself could pull off a good rendition…but Michael Pataki WAS George Liquor.

    RIP JC aka George Liquor…AMERICAN!


  39. Haha. Yeah I totally forgot about him being in Spider-Man. As well as the role in Rocky Intravenous – “Whatever he hits, he destroys.” :o


  40. Alex says:

    He’s one of those actors you instantly realize you’ve seen in a whole bunch of stuff and never realize it until Rocky 4 comes on one day and then you see him in something else and then something else.


  41. His Variety obit says this:

    “He guested on the original “Star Trek,” where he was the first to speak the Klingonese language,…”

    But they never used the Klingon language until the first movie. Shouldn’t a media news service only about the entertainment industry actually know something like that?


  42. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    In this photo he sort of looks like a young Bea Arthur…


  43. Man-On-The-Moon says:

    Here’s to you Mr. Pataki… MY OWN FLESH I DON’T LOVE BETTER!!!


  44. This Guy says:

    @41: Aye, you’re quite right. His character was probably the first one to mention the language: “The whole quadrant knows it–that’s why they’re learning to speak Klingonese!” James Doohan invented the first words of Klingon(ese) for the first movie, and then Marc Okrand expanded the language for the third.


  45. PALADIN says:

    Michael Pataki was always one of those instantly recognizeable faces…one of those character actors that just stood out to me….His long list of credits is remarkable.

    In a bizarre coincidence, I watched the `77 pilot movie for ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ tv series the day Mr. Pataki died and enjoyed him playing the caustic cop character immensely. ( too bad MST ne never had a shot at that Spider-Man…! )

    After hearing of his passing, I gave ‘Sidehackers’ a re-watch, to see Pataki`s ‘JC’ rant and rave… and I bid a fond farewell to ‘one of those faces’ that I always recognized …no matter who he was supposed to be in the movie/show I was watching.

    Michael Pataki…You Were Enjoyed.


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