Michael Ansara in Law of the Plainsman (1959)
|Died||July 31, 2013 (aged 91)|
Calabasas, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, U.S.|
|Education||A.A. from Los Angeles City College|
|Alma mater||Los Angeles City College|
|Home town||Lowell, Massachusetts|
|Height||6 ft 3 in (1.90 m)|
(m. 1955; div. 1956)
(m. 1958; div. 1974)
(m. 1977; his death 2013)
|Awards||Hollywood Walk of Fame, Western Heritage Award, Saturn Award|
Michael George Ansara (April 15, 1922 - July 31, 2013) was an American stage, screen, and voice actor. He portrayed Cochise in the television series Broken Arrow, Kane in the 1979-1981 series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Commander Kang in three episodes of the Star Trek television series, Deputy U.S. Marshal Sam Buckhart in the NBC series Law of the Plainsman, and provided the voice for Mr. Freeze in Batman: The Animated Series and several of its spin-offs.
Michael George Ansara was born in a small village in the Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon, and his family emigrated to the United States when he was two years old. He was of Lebanese descent. They lived 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 at Pasadena Playhouse. He was educated at Los Angeles City College, from which Ansara earned an Associate of Arts degree. Ansara served as a medic in the army during World War II.
During the 1950s, Ansara appeared in several episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He appeared in a 1951 episode of The Lone Ranger titled "Trouble at Black Rock." In 1953, he appeared as Pindarus in Joseph Mankiewicz' big screen adaptation of Julius Caesar, with Marlon Brando, James Mason and John Gielgud. However, the popular television series Broken Arrow (1956), wherein he played the lead role of Cochise, 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 Waik?k?", 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 (1959-1960), with Gina Gillespie and Robert Harland. He performed as an Apache Indian named Sam Buckhart, who had been appointed as a U.S. Marshal. The series began as an episode of The Rifleman.
Ansara also played in Biblical epics: The Robe (1953) as Judas Iscariot, The Ten Commandments (1956) as a taskmaster (uncredited), and The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) as Herod's commander. He also appeared as Belshazzar in Columbia's 1953 movie Slaves of Babylon.
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 television series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, playing the rebel sub commander Captain Ruiz in "Killers Of The Deep" (1966). He also appeared in the episode "Hot Line" (broadcast on November 9, 1964) as a Soviet scientist who disarms a defective Soviet atomic satellite that has crashed off the coast of California and he appeared as Carl in the episode "Night Visitors" of the NBC anthology series The Barbara Stanwyck Show.
In 1964, he made his only guest appearance on Perry Mason as Vince Kabat in "The Case of the Antic Angel." Also that year, he played the lead character of "Qarlo," the Soldier in an episode of the original The Outer Limits television show. It opened the second season of shows on 19 September 1964 and was written by acclaimed fantasy writer and novelist Harlan Ellison, adapting it from his short story "Soldier from Tomorrow."
Ansara played the Ruler on episode 22, "The Challenge," of the television series Lost in Space (March 2, 1966) 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 on Daniel Boone as Red Sky in a 1966 episode. In another 1966 episode of that series, Ansara portrayed Sebastian Drake. He played two different characters in two episodes of the 1966 science fiction television series The Time Tunnel, Colonel Hruda in episode #11 and the Curator in episode #28 .
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, and in the episode "The Savage Street" of the ABC action drama series The Fugitive with Gilbert Roland and Tom Nardini.
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. He also starred as the sadistic militant Diego in the film Guns of the Magnificent Seven.
In 1978, he starred in the acclaimed miniseries Centennial, based on the novel by James A. Michener. Ansara 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.
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.
In 1988, Ansara appeared in an episode of the television series Murder, She Wrote titled "The Last Flight of the Dixie Damsel."
In recent years, he performed voice-acting as Mr. Freeze in Batman: The Animated Series, as well as the animated film Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero, an episode of both The New Batman Adventures and Batman Beyond and the video game Batman: Vengeance.
He is one of nine actors to play the same character (in his case the Klingon commander Kang) on three Star Trek television series - the original series ("Day of the Dove"), Deep Space Nine ("Blood Oath") and Voyager ("Flashback").
Ansara was married three times, first to actress Jean Byron in 1955; the couple divorced in 1956. In 1958, Ansara married Barbara Eden, who is best known for starring in I Dream of Jeannie. In 1961, Michael and Barbara both co-starred in Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.[circular reference] The couple had a son named Matthew Ansara born in 1965. Ansara and Eden divorced in 1974, and he married actress Beverly Kushida in 1977. On June 25, 2001, his son Matthew died from a drug overdose in Monrovia, California. Ansara was a Greek Orthodox Christian.
Ansara died from complications of Alzheimer's disease at his home in Calabasas on July 31, 2013, at the age of 91. His interment is at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, next to his son Matthew.
|1978||Dr. Strange||Ancient One (voice)||TV Movie |
|1998||Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero||Dr. Victor Fries / Mr. Freeze (voice)||Direct-to-video|
|1968||Star Trek: The Original Series||Kang||Episode: "Day of the Dove"|
|1981||Thundarr the Barbarian||Vashtar (voice)||Episode: "Prophecy of Peril"|
|1981||Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends||Hiawatha Smith (voice)||Episode: "Quest of the Red Skull"|
|1986||Rambo: The Force of Freedom||General Warhawk (voice)||63 Episodes|
|1994||Babylon 5||Elric||Episode: "The Geometry of Shadows"|
|1992-1994||Batman: The Animated Series||Mr. Freeze / Dr. Victor Fries (voice)||Episodes: "Heart of Ice" and "Deep Freeze"|
|1994-1996||Star Trek: Deep Space Nine||Jeyal / Kang||Episodes: "Blood Oath" and "The Muse"|
|1996||Star Trek: Voyager||Kang||Episode: "Flashback"|
|1997||The New Batman Adventures||Victor Fries / Mr. Freeze (voice)||Episode: "Cold Comfort"|
|1999||Batman Beyond||Episode: "Meltdown"|