CALABASAS—Veteran actor Michael Ansara, best known for playing Klingon leader Kang in three “Star Trek” incarnations, passed away on Wednesday, July 31. Ansara died at his home in Calabasas, due to complications of Alzheimer's, according to the actor's former agent. He was 91.
Michael Ansara in "Law of the Plainsman".
Born in a small village in
Syria on April 15, 1922, Ansara came to the
United States at the age of two. Though originally planning to become a doctor, he quickly discovered his passion for acting while in college. The Syrian-born actor often portrayed authoritative figures in casting choices inspired by his tall figure and deep voice.
His role as Cochise on the television series “Broken Arrow” raised the actor's profile, and his credits during the 40s and 50s consists of numerous appearances in films and television shows, including “Dangerous Assignment,” “Soldiers Three” and “The Lone Ranger” (the television series). He subsequently received substantial roles in “The Rifleman” and its spin-off, “Law of the Plainsman.”
Ansara later made his debut as Kang during the third season of “Star Trek.” The episode, entitled “Day Of The Dove,” aired in 1968 and cemented his place in television history. His role as the Klingon leader became a popular figure in Star Trek lore, and he later reprised the character in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek: Voyager.”
The actor continued to play roles outside of the sci-fi series, and he would often be cast in roles of different ethnicities. He also appeared in “The Rockford Files,” “Murder She Wrote” and “I Dream of Jeannie” as well as other various films.
Ansara was formerly married to “I Dream of Jeannie” star Barbara Eden. The couple divorced in 1974. In reaction to his death,
Eden posted on her Twitter account, “He was a good man, a good father & a fantastic actor who had a long and full life.”
Three years after his separation from
Eden, Ansara married Beverly Kushida. Their 36-year marriage lasted until his death.