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Michael Ansara (1922)

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  Summary  

Michael Ansara is a Syrian-born American stage, screen, and voice actor best known for his portrayal of Cochise in the American television series Broken Arrow, Kane in the 1979-81 series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and 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.

During the 1950s, Ansara appeared in several episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. It was the popular TV series Broken Arrow , wherein he played the lead role of Cochise, that raised Ansara's profile and made him a household name. 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" and in the final season he played Major Biff Jellico in the episode "My Sister, the Home Wrecker." 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.

Ansara starred in his own ABC-TV series, Law of the Plainsman (1959-60), with Gina Gillespie and Robert Harland. He performed as an Apache Indian appointed as a U.S. Marshal named Sam Buckhart. The series began as an episode of The Rifleman. In 1961, he appeared as Carl in the episode "Night Visitors" of the NBC anthology series The Barbara Stanwyck Show.

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

 Later career
In 1961, Ansara played the role of Miguel Alvarez in the film Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, co-starring with Barbara Eden and Walter Pidgeon, who played the role of Admiral Harriman Nelson. Ansara later appeared in an episode of the TV series "Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea", playing the rebel sub commander Captain Ruiz in "Killers Of The Deep" .

In 1962, he starred in a Broadway show with famous silent film actor Ramon Novarro.

Ansara played The Ruler on episode 12, "The Challenge", of the TV series Lost in Space with a young Kurt Russell as his son Quano and, later that same year, appeared 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, of the ABC action drama series The Fugitive Gilbert Roland Miguel Anza Tom Nardini David Janssen Dr. Richard Kimble.

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 Western", the penultimate episode of the original CBS TV series Mission: Impossible.

In 1976, he starred in the movie Mohammad, Messenger of God , 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, having 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 he 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 town that the novel and miniseries are named after.

In 1988, Ansara appeared in an episode of the TV series Murder, She Wrote entitled "The Last Flight of the Dixie Damsel".

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 spinoff animated movies, Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero, an episode of Batman Beyond and the video game spinoff Batman Vengeance.

 Star Trek
He is one of six actors to play the same character 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 , Marina Sirtis , Armin Shimerman , John de Lancie , and Richard Poe . Ansara also played Lwaxana Troi's husband Jeyal on the Deep Space Nine episode, "The Muse".

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  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Michael Ansara", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.