Michael Ansara Dies: 'Star Trek' Klingon, Barbara Eden's Ex Was 91

Image: Michael Ansara Dies: 'Star Trek' Klingon, Barbara Eden's Ex Was 91 Michael Ansara, right and Barbara Eden in 1964.

Monday, 05 Aug 2013 08:04 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Michael Ansara, a prolific character actor known for his portrayal of Klingon commander Kang in "Star Trek" and his marriage to Barbara Eden, died after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease July 31, his publicist Michael B. Druxman told media outlets.

Ansara, 91, played Kang in three different "Star Trek" series, according to the Hollywood Reporter. He appeared in the original "Star Trek" series in the 1968 episode "Day of the Dove" and also appeared in "Deep Space Nine" and "Voyager."

Ansara, with a signature deep voice, was married to Eden, of "I Dream of Jeannie" fame, from 1958 to 1974, and even appeared in an episode of the iconic sitcom with her, reported the Huffington Post. The couple had a son, Matthew Michael Ansara, who died of an accidental heroin overdose at age 35.

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Ansara is survived by his wife of 36 years, Beverly, his sister Rose, his niece Michelle and nephew, Michael John.

Ansara was born in Syria to American parents and moved to Los Angeles at age 2. He changed his mind about becoming a doctor after a stint in the stint at the Pasadena Playhouse, which included future stars Charles Bronson, Carolyn Jones and Aaron Spelling.

Ansara began his career playing Native American characters on 1950s series "Broken Arrow" and "Law of the Plainsman."

"Unfortunately he got typecast as Native Americans," Druxman told Entertainment Tonight. "He played practically every kind of nationality you can think of. Michael and I have been friends since 1968. He was my best friend. He had a long illness. He died at home. He was a great guy, and a wonderful actor."

The Hollywood Reporter said Ansara complained about being typecasted in a 1979 interview.

"After ('The Rifleman') I went two years without working at all," Ansara said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "If you play one thing and you play it well, they would type you, and it would be difficult to get other roles."

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Ansara's film credits included "Julius Caesar" and "The Robe" in 1953, "Jupiter's Darling" in 1955, "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" and "The Comancheros" in 1961, "The Greatest Story Ever Told" in 1965, "Guns of the Magnificent Seven" in 1969, "It's Alive" in 1974 and "The Message" in 1977.

Related stories:

Barbara Eden: At 78, Jeannie Still Looks Good in Genie Costume

Actor James Gandolfini, Best Known as Tony Soprano, Dead at 51

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