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August 02, 2013

Michael Ansara, Actor Known for Broken Arrow, Star Trek, More

Ansara broke into television in the medium's early years and went on to appear in dozens of series in a career that spanned half a century.

Michael Ansara, a tall, rich-voiced actor known for playing the Klingon warrior Kang on three different Star Trek series, died July 31, 2013, in Calabasas, California. He was 91.

Born in rural Syria to American parents, Ansara grew up in New England and Los Angeles, where he contemplated a career in medicine before becoming an actor.

He began his career with roles in several feature films in the 1940s, including Action in Arabia and Intrigue. He went on to appear in many other movies over the next several decades, among them Julius Caesar, The Robe, Jupiter’s Darling, The Comancheros, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Guns of the Magnificent Seven, The Bears and I, The Message and It’s Alive.

But it was in television that he left his most lasting mark. He made his first TV appearances in the medium's infancy on shows such as Family Theatre, China Smith, Terry and the Pirates, Dangerous Assignment and The Lone Ranger.

In Broken Arrow, which aired from 1956-58, he played the Native American Cochise; in Law of the Plainsman, which aired from 1959-60, he was Deputy U.S. Marshal Sam Buckhart.

Ansara first played Kang in a 1968 episode of the original Star Trek and went on to play the nefarious character in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in 1994 and Star Trek: Voyager in 1996.

He also made guest appearances in dozens of other series, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Naked City, Playhouse 90, The Rifleman, The Untouchables, Wagon Train, Perry Mason, The Outer Limits, Rawhide, Ben Casey, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., Lost in Space, Gunsmoke, The Fugitive, It Takes a Thief, I Dream of Jeannie, Mod Squad, Hawaii Five-O, The Streets of San Francisco, Mission: Impossible, Kojak, CHiPs, Hunter and many others.

Ansara was married three times: to actress Jean Byron, known for The Patty Duke Show; to I Dream of Jeannie star Barbara Eden; and to actress Beverly Kushida, who survives him, as well as a sister, a niece and a nephew.

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