Friday, August 02, 2013
Michael Ansara (1922 - 2013)
I'm very sad to report today the death of Michael Ansara, an actor who left a huge mark in science fiction television history.
Mr. Ansara is most famous in sci-fi circles, perhaps, for his role as the Klingon Commander Kang (pictured above) in Star Trek.
Ansara played this role in the Original Series ("Day of the Dove"), in Deep Space Nine ("Blood Oath") and Voyager ("Flashback.") Kang is a beloved character in Trek circles, and not at all a typical "black hat." Ansara brought his trademark intelligence and strength to the character, and that's the reason Kang is remembered with such affection after more than forty years. He was a great adversary for Kirk, both thoughtful and cunning.
Beyond his memorable role in the Trek franchise, Mr. Ansara played "Killer" Kane in the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979 - 1981) series on three different occasions, in "Escape from Wedded Bliss," "Ardala Returns" and "Flight of the War Witch."
In this role, Ansara also projected authority and power. Ansara boasted a booming voice, and an intimidating gait, and he put those qualities to good use as Buck's nemesis on the Draconia.
Mr. Ansara was also a staple of all the popular Irwin Allen sci-fi programming of the 1960s, and appeared in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, Land of the Giants and The Time Tunnel.
Other prominent guest-starring roles in genre programming came on the original The Outer Limits ("Soldier" by Harlan Ellison) and Babylon 5.
The artist also made appearances in the horror films of William Girdler, including Day of the Animals (1977) and The Manitou (1978).
Outside the genre, Mr. Ansara lent his powerful screen presence to dozens of TV programs, including The Lone Ranger, Gunsmoke, Bewitched, Broken Arrow, Hawaii 5-0, I Dream of Jeannie, and more.
Mr. Ansara will be missed tremendously, and my thoughts are with his family in this time of sorrow. His great performances, however, will live on.
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