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Michael Ansara, actor behind Klingon leader Kang, dies at 91

By Greg Botelho, CNN
August 4, 2013 -- Updated 1511 GMT (2311 HKT)
Michael Ansara, best known for playing the Klingon leader Kang, has died at age 91. Ansara originally played Kang in original "Star Trek" series and then reprised the role for "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and "Star Trek: Voyager." Michael Ansara, best known for playing the Klingon leader Kang, has died at age 91. Ansara originally played Kang in original "Star Trek" series and then reprised the role for "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and "Star Trek: Voyager."
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Character actor Michael Ansara
Character actor Michael Ansara
Character actor Michael Ansara
Character actor Michael Ansara
Character actor Michael Ansara
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Ex-wife Eden says Ansara was a "good man, a good father & a fantastic actor"
  • Michael Ansara dies in California at age 91, his former agent says
  • He played Klingon commander Kang in three iterations of "Star Trek"
  • He made numerous other TV and movie roles over his long career

(CNN) -- He struck an imposing figure as Kang, the villainous Klingon commander who struck fears in the hearts of the federation.

The man who played Kang in three iterations of "Star Trek," Michael Ansara, has died, according to his former agent.

Ansara was 91.

The veteran character actor was probably best known for playing the Klingon leader in the original "Star Trek" series, then again in the legendary sci-fi series "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and "Star Trek: Voyager."

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People we lost in 2013
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Photos: People we lost in 2013 Photos: People we lost in 2013

But he had an illustrious career beyond that, plus a personal life that included a marriage to Barbara Eden of "I Dream of Jeannie" fame and a 36-year marriage to his wife Beverly.

Ansara died Wednesday at his home in Calabasas, California, according to former agent Michael B. Druxman.

He was born in a small village in Syria, arriving in the United States with his American parents at the age of two, according to a biography provided by Druxman.

Having entered college in Los Angeles intending to be a doctor, he went into acting instead. His breakout role came as Cochise in the 1950s TV series "Broken Arrow."

Other small-screen roles included in parts in such shows as "The Untouchables," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Perry Mason, "Lost in Space," "Hawaii 5-0," "Murder She Wrote," "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" and his ex-wife's show, "I Dream of Jeannie." Ansara also voiced Mr. Freeze in Batman movies and the TV series.

Ansara's film credits include 1953's "Julius Caesar," "The Greatest Story Ever Told," John Wayne's "The Comancheros," "Guns of the Magnificent Seven," "The Bears and I," "The Message" and "The Guns and the Fury."

William Shatner, who played Capt. James T. Kirk on the original Star Trek, was among the many who offered condolences upon hearing of Ansara's death. So too did Eden, Ansara's former wife.

Tweeted Eden: "He was a good man, a good father & a fantastic actor who had a long and full life."

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