Michael Ansara (born April 15, 1922) is a stage, screen and voice actor, best known for his portrayal of Cochise in the American television series Broken Arrow, and as Commander Kang on three different Star Trek TV series.

Biography

Early life and career

Ansara was born in Syria, and his family emigrated to the United States when he was two years old. They resided in Lowell, Massachusetts, for a decade before moving to California. He originally wanted to be a physician, but developed a passion for becoming a performer after he began taking acting classes to overcome his shyness.

It was the popular TV series Broken Arrow (1956), where he played the lead role of Cochise, that raised Ansara's profile and made him a household name on television. While making the series, the 20th Century Fox Publicity Department arranged a date between Ansara and actress Barbara Eden. The two later married and Ansara guest-starred on Eden's I Dream of Jeannie series, as the Blue Djinn, who had imprisoned Jeannie in a bottle. He also played King Kamehameha in the Jeannie episode "The Battle of Waikiki". Michael Ansara and Barbara Eden divorced in 1974. The couple had one son together, actor Matthew Ansara, who died on June 25, 2001 of a heroin overdose.

Another success of Ansara was the TV series Law of the Plainsman (1959, with Gina Gillespie and Robert Harland), where he performed as Indian U.S. Marshal Sam Buckhart. Also in 1959, Ansara was the guest star in an episode of The Rifleman, playing Native American U.S. Marshal Sam Buckhart. In 1961, he appeared as Carl in the episode "Night Visitors" of the NBC anthology series The Barbara Stanwyck Show.

Michael Ansara also played in the Biblical epics The Robe (1953) as Judas, The Ten Commandments (1956) as the taskmaster and The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) as Herod's commander. Ansara also appeared in the 1953 movie Slaves of Babylon.

Later career

In 1961, Ansara played the role of Miguel Alvarez, co-starring with Barbara Eden, in the film Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and also with Walter Pidgeon, who played the role of Admiral Harriman Nelson.

Ansara played The Ruler on episode 12, "The Challenge", of the TV series Lost in Space (March 2, 1966) with a young Kurt Russell as his son Quano and, later that same year, in the feature film Texas Across the River with Dean Martin. He also appeared in 1966 as Red Sky in the Daniel Boone television series.

In 1967, Ansara guest starred in the episode "A War for the Gravediggers" of the NBC western series The Road West starring Barry Sullivan, Andrew Prine, and Glenn Corbett.

In 1969, Ansara guest starred in the episode "On a Clear Night You Can See Earth" as Murtrah in the ABC TV series Land of the Giants.

In 1973, he guest starred in the penultimate episode ("The Western") of the original CBS TV series Mission: Impossible.

In 1977, he starred in the movie Mohammad, Messenger of God (also titled The Message) about the origin of Islam, and the message of prophet Mohammad.

Ansara played Killer Kane in the 1979-1980 season of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and previously played two different characters in two episodes of the 1966 science fiction TV series The Time Tunnel. In episode #11, he played Colonel Hruda and in episode #28 played The Curator. He also played the title role in the acclaimed The Outer Limits original series episode "Soldier", written by Harlan Ellison. He narrated Paul Goble's "The Gift of the Sacred Dog" at Crow Agency, Montana, on June 17, 1983, and Sheila MacGill Callahan's "And Still the Turtle Watched" on October 21, 1993, on the PBS series Reading Rainbow.

Also in 1979, he starred in the acclaimed miniseries Centennial, based on the novel by James A. Michener. In it, he played the great Indian leader Lame Beaver, whose descendants are showcased throughout the centuries, alongside the growth of the West and the eponymous town the novel and miniseries is named after.

In 1994, Ansara portrayed the Technomage Elric in the science fiction TV series Babylon 5, in the episode "The Geometry of Shadows".

In recent years, he performed voice-acting as Mr. Freeze in Batman: The Animated Series as well as one of its two spin-off animated movies, Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero, an episode of Batman Beyond [1] and the video game spin-off, Batman Vengeance.

Star Trek

He is one of six actors to play the same character (Kang) on three different Star Trek TV series - the original series ("Day of the Dove"), Deep Space Nine ("Blood Oath") and Voyager ("Flashback"). The other actors who hold this distinction are Jonathan Frakes (Riker; TNG, Voyager and Enterprise), Marina Sirtis (Troi; TNG, Voyager and Enterprise), Armin Shimerman (Quark; TNG, DS9 and Voyager), John de Lancie (Q; TNG, DS9 and Voyager), and Richard Poe (Gul Evek; TNG, DS9 and Voyager). He also provided the voice of Q's supervisor in the Next Generation episode "True Q" and played Lwaxana Troi's husband Jeyal on the Deep Space Nine episode, "The Muse".

References

External links

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