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Michael Ansara Dies At 91, Played Klingon Kang On 'Star Trek'
Michael Ansara, the actor best known for playing the Klingon villain Kang on three versions of Star Trek, died Wednesday at the age of 91 at his home in Calabasas.
The Hollywood Reporter announced the death of the actor, who was married to I Dream of Jeannie star Barbara Eden from 1958-1974.
His former publicist, Michael B. Druxman, said the actor died after a long illness.
Ansara was unfortunately typecast after playing two Native American characters on 1950s series: Cochise on Broken Arrow; and another Apache, Deputy U.S. Marshal Sam Buckhart, on Law of the Plainsman, a spinoff of The Rifleman.
The actor, who was of Syrian descent, said it often was hard to get work. "After [Law of the Plainsman], I went two years without working at all," Ansara recalled in a 1979 interview. "If you play one thing, and you play it well, they would type you, and it would be difficult to get other roles." He played Lame Beaver, another Native American, years later on the 1978 miniseries Centennial.
"He played practically every kind of nationality you can think of," Druxman told EW. He wrote about Ansara in his 2010 memoir My Forty-Five Years in Hollywood and How I Escaped Alive.
It was Ansara's role as Kang in three different Star Trek series that most endeared him to fans. He first played the role in the 1968 episode "Day of the Dove," then reprised it on the 1994 "Blood Oath" episode of Deep Space Nine and, lastly, 1996's "Flashback" episode on Star Trek: Voyager.
He also appeared in Julius Caesar, The Robe, Jupiter's Darling, and The Comancheros. He co-starred in 1961's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and also appeared in the subsequent ABC series.
He also appeared opposite with then-wife Eden on I Dream of Jeannie, as well as episodes of Perry Mason, The Outer Limits and the original Hawaii Five-0. Most recently, Ansara voiced Mr. Freeze in The New Batman Adventures and Batman Beyond. years.
He was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960: it's located at 6666 Hollywood Boulevard.
He and Eden had one son together, Matthew Michael Ansara, who died of a heroin overdose in 2001. He is survived by Beverly, his wife of 36 years, his sister Rose, his niece Michelle and nephew Michael John.