Syrian-born actor Michael Ansara, who has played the original character of Klingon warrior Kang on three versions of the Star Trek TV series, died on Wednesday at his home in California. The actor was 91-years-old and was suffering from a prolonged illness.
“Michael and I have been friends since 1968. He was my best friend. He had a long illness and died at home. He was a great guy, and a wonderful actor,” said his one-time publicist Michael B. Druxman, quoted eonline.com.
Though his character as the Star Trek villain will remain his most enduring popular culture legacy, the actor rose to fame through playing native American characters on the ‘50s two primetime series, Broken Arrow and Law of the Plainsman.
Ansara was born to American parents in Syria and returned to the US at the age of two. He initially enrolled into the Los Angeles City College with the intention of becoming a doctor. However, his performance at the Pasadena Playhouse landed him roles in film and stage, reported hollywoodreporter.com.
The actor was also seen in movies including Julius Caesar and The Robe (1953), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961) and The Comancheros (1961). Ansara also played the role of Abu Sufyan in the Islam-inspired film, The Message.
At later stages of life, Ansara, who also received a star on Hollywood’s walk of fame, appeared in an array of TV series including, The Untouchables, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Lost in Space and the mini-series, Centennial.
Most recently, the actor lent his deep-toned voice for the role of Mr. Freeze on the animated Batman series. Ansara has left behind his wife of 36 years, Beverly Kushida and sister, Rose.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2013.
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