The world of science fiction has lost another star as actor Michael Ansara, best known for his portrayal as the Klingon Kang, has passed away in his home in Calabasas, CA due to a prolonged illness on Wednesday, July 31st.
Born in a small village in Syria to American parents, Ansara came to the U.S. at the age of 2. During his teen years, he and his family relocated to California where he originally planned on becoming a doctor, but it was a stint at the Pasadena Playhouse that the acting bug bit him.
Being a non-Caucasian trying to break into acting during the 40s and 50s was difficult, but Ansara managed to get work mainly playing Native American roles. In a 1979 interview, Ansara had commented:
“After [‘The Rifleman’/’Law of the Plainsman’], I went two years without working at all. If you play one thing [in his case, a Native American], and you play it well, they would type you, and it would be difficult to get other roles.”
But the science fiction genre would soon change that. In the 1960s, Ansara appeared in many classic sci-fi series with roles on ‘Outer Limits’, ‘Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea’, ‘Lost in Space’ and ‘Time Tunnel’. Luckily for Trekkies, soon after, he was cast in the role of Klingon Dahar Master Kang for the episode ‘Day of the Dove’. The conflict between Kang and Kirk has made the Klingon character one of the most memorable ones in the Trek universe. Ansara reprised this role in two other ‘Star Trek’ series, ‘Star Trek: Voyager’ in the episode titled ‘Flashback’ and in ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ in ‘Blood Oath’ (he again appeared on ‘DS9’ but as another character named Jeyal in the episode ‘Muse’).
While his face may not be familiar, it is his voice that many who watched the animated ‘Batman’ series may recognize. Ansara was the voice of the character Dr. Victor Fries/Mr. Freeze in ‘Batman’, ‘The New Adventures of Batman’, ‘Batman Beyond’ and the ‘Batman Beyond: The Movie’. Ansara voiced the super villian from 1992 – 2001. Sadly, it was the last role he would play.
Ansara is survived by his wife of 36 years, Beverly, his sister Rose, his niece Michelle, and his nephew Michael John. No details have been released regarding his private service and the family is requesting that in lieu of flowers, donations to St. Michael’s Aniochian Orthodox Church in Van Nuys be made.
Our deepest sympathies go out to Ansara’s family, friends and fans in this time of sorrow. His contributions to the world of science fiction will not be forgotten.