Actor Michael Ansara who’s deep authoritative voice, slender frame and towering height menaced other characters in television and film has passed away after a long illness. He was 91.
Ansara was born in a small village in Syria on April 22, 1922. He came to the United States with his American parents at the age of two, living in New England, until the family relocated to California ten years later.
Attending Los Angeles City College with the intention of becoming a doctor, Ansara was sidetracked into the drama department. A stint at the Pasadena Playhouse, where fellow students included Charles Bronson, Carolyn Jones and Aaron Spelling, led to roles on stage and in films. He had the starring role as Cochise on the popular 1956 television series “Broken Arrow,” which elevated him to stardom. During the series run, he met actress Barbara Eden (“I Dream of Jeannie”) on a date arranged by the 20th Century Fox publicity department. The two later married.
Ansara’s film credits include “Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy,” “Julius Caesar,” “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” “The Greatest Story Ever Told” and “The Comancheros” with John Wayne.
Besides playing the ruthless Klingon Commander Kang on three different Star Trek television series, Ansara appeared in dozens of other television shows, including “The Outer Limits,” “Lost in Space,” “Daniel Boone,” “The Virginian,” “The Fugitive,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “McCloud,” “Mission: Impossible,” “Land of the Giants,” “Dr. Strange,” “Babylon 5,” “Vega$,” “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Fantasy Island,” “Kojak,” and he provided the voice for Mr. Freeze in the 1992 “Batman” animated series and its spin-offs. Ansara retired from acting in 2001.
Ansara was predeceased by his son, Matthew, with former wife Barbara Eden. He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Beverly, a sister and a niece and nephew.