|I was very impressed with his acting abilities and talents. As someone once posted on Mr. Ihnat's imdb bio, he had that ability to turn a one-dimensional character into a multi-dimensional one with his marvelous speaking voice. He definately could play a hero and a villain with that same intensity and focus.
I first saw Steve Ihnat as the legendary Garth Of Izar, in the classic third season Star Trek episode "Whom Gods Destroy". At first, I thought he was Andy Williams (since he looks a lot like the famous actor/singer), but it turns out that he was not. The way he played Garth, you could tell that Garth was a tragic character and not responsible for the actions that he had made, immediately after being healed from the accident that he was in. Every scene he was in was truly remarkable and definately attention-grabbing. Whether Garth was mild and gentle one moment or violent and discordant the next, you could tell that Steve brought his acting talents into full force. Right down to when Garth was cured ("Should I know you, sir?"), he definately made that episode his.
Stephen Lodge had told me in an e-mail that Steve enjoyed working on Star Trek. It would have been great if Garth had returned in one of the Star Trek movies (had Steve lived). For some reason, I could picture him wearing one of those pastel costumes from Star Trek-The Motion Picture.
Anyway, there is a sequel novel to "Whom Gods Destroy", entitled Garth Of Izar. If you haven't read it, be sure to pick up a copy. It is an excellent sequel and tribute to Steve. I could definately hear and see him playing Garth again, while reading the book. I can honestly say that Garth Of Izar is my favorite Steve Ihnat role. I even used a monologue of his in my high school acting class some twenty years past.
I also enjoyed his role in the 1968 film Countdown. He certainly played Ross Duellan very well. I was very impressed with his role as the NASA Chief Administrator.
As for his other roles, I later saw him in the episode of I Dream Of Jeannie, My Master the Rainmaker. His role as Sergeant Ben Roberts was truly memorable and funny all at the same time. He certainly could play a comedic role and play it well. He hhad me convinced that Ben's family was in trouble and needed help.
This was later followed by his role as the ill-fated Arctic scientist on Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea. I had to admit, that opening teaser sent chills down my spine. Especially when Steve (playing the doomed Arctic scientist Pernell)was trying to rescue Pat Priest's character from the mutated plankton. His screaming "THE PLANKTON! THE PLANKTON!" really stuck with me.
His performance in The Chase (in the non-speaking role of Archie)definately took me by surprise. Like Morgan Woodward in Cool Hand Luke and Michael Forest in 100 Rifles, he certainly gave an effective preformance. Without speaking one word, he truly did a marvelous job. Especially when he was the one who killed Bubba Reeves(Robert Redford)in the end.
I thought he did a excellent job as Andy Warshaw in the 1967 John Sturges western Hour Of The Gun. Even though the character was based on a Native American who was involved with the Clantons, he was convincing as the ill-fated gunslinger. His death scene at the hands of James Garner was pretty powerful. Stephen Lodge also mentioned to me that Steve enjoyed working on the film and with Sturges, himself.
That same year, when he was General Carter in the film In Like Flint, he once again played a villain and played it well. At first, I did not think that Carter would be the head villain, but when it was revealed that he was, I was very impressed. He was the main reason why I watched the movie.
As for his role in The Outer Limits two-parter, The Inheritors, all I can say this....Why wasn't he nominated for an Emmy?! Let alone won the Emmy?! He was remarkable and truly convincing in the role of Phillip Minns. Right down to where he was crying and the moving monologue he gave at the end. Like I said, he should have been nominated and won an Emmy for that episode!
I did manage to catch some of his work in The Fugitive, Gunsmoke, The Virginian, and Mission:Impossible (The Mind Of Stefan Miklos). And as always, he did not disappoint. He truly made the episodes entirely his own.
And I certainly liked his directorial and screenwriting work in The Honkers. Stephen Lodge also told me that it was a wonderful and memorable time working on the production.
Steve Ihnat was definately one hell of a charcater actor, and it is a shame that he passed away so soon. The year I was born, no less. I always got the impression that he was more of a character actor who belonged in the Seventies, and not the Sixties.
Nevertheless, he was excellent in whatever role he played in.
To sum it up, I would like to say the following.
God bless you, Steve. You are greatly missed!