Michael Ansara, who played Commander Kang, the Klingon warrior on Star Trek, died July 31 at his home in Calabasas, Calif., at the age of 91. Ansara was married to Barbara Eden of I Dream of Jeannie. He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Beverly, as well as his sister Rose, his niece Michelle and his nephew Michael John.
Michael Ansara played Commander Kang on three versions of Star Trek. He originated the role in the “Day of the Dove” episode in 1968 (“we have no devil, Kirk”). He reprised the role on the Deep Space Nine episode “Blood Oath” in 1994 and the Voyager episode “Flashback” from 1996. Ansara is also known for his role as the Native American Cochise on the ABC series Broken Arrow and the Apache Deputy U.S. Marshal Sam Buckhart on Law of the Plainsman.
Ansara played Pindarus in the 1953 version of Julius Caesar , he played Judas in The Robe and he was in the movie and TV series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. He also appeared in Jupiter’s Darling from 1955, The Comancheros with John Wayne from 1961, The Greatest Story Ever Told from 1965, Guns of the Magnificent Seven from 1969, The Bears and I from 1974, The Message from 1977 and the 1974 low-budget horror classic It’s Alive.
Michael Ansara was born in Syria and came to the United States with his American parents at the age of 2. He went to Los Angeles City College with plans of becoming a doctor but a gig at Pasadena Playhouse led him to stage, film and TV. At the Pasadena Playhouse he studied with Charles Bronson, Carolyn Jones (Morticia Addams) and Aaron Spelling. On TV, Ansara also played in The Untouchables, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Perry Mason, The Outer Limits, Lost in Space, I Dream of Jeannie with his wife, Hawaii 5-0, Murder, She Wrote, James Michener’s Centennial miniseries and played Sam Buckhart on two episodes of The Rifleman. He was also the voice of Mr. Freeze on the cartoon series Batman.
Michael Ansara was married to the mom on the Patty Duke Show, Jean Byron, during the 1950s. Ansara married Barbara Eden in 1958 and they separated in 1974. Their son, the actor Matthew Michael Ansara, died of a heroin overdose in 2001 at the age of 35.
Ansara’s family wants people to make donations to St. Michael’s Antiochian Orthodox Church in Van Nuys in lieu of flowers.