Michael Ansara, actor of many ethnicities was 91

ansara-eden-imdb.jpgMichael Ansara had one of those Hollywood careers that lasted a long time and is fun to examine. Because he was of Lebanese heritage (born in Syria but raised in the U.S.), he went from the drama department at Los Angeles City College into a succession of "ethnic" roles: His first listing on IMDb is as a character named Hamid in 1944's "Action in Arabia." He played a "native policeman" in "South Sea Sinner," a "Sikh policeman" in "Smuggler's Island," a character named Mir Jumla in "The Diamond Queen" and Prince Belshazzar in "Slaves of Babylon." Then came the Westerns era, in which Ansara became famous as Cochise in "Broken Arrow" on TV, and also played both sides as Henchman Walker and Angry Horse in "The Lone Ranger," Tioka in "The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin," and a deputy U.S. Marshal in both "The Rifleman" and "Law of the Plainsman," and in dozens of other TV episodes. Later he was in both "The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and "The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.," played Mister Freeze in four different Batman series' and famously played Kang in several iterations of "Star Trek" — after also taking a turn on TV's "Lost in Space."

Ansara made appearances in many of the hit (and not so hit) TV shows of the 60s and 70s, from "The Mod Squad" to "I Dream of Jeanie," portraying in the latter three different characters alongside his real-life wife at the time, Barbara Eden. In one episode of Jeanie, Ansara got his Hawaiian card as King Kamehameha — experience that I guess helped him later as Piro Manoa in an episode of "Hawaii Five-0."

Late in his career, as interest rose in quote unquote Arab and Middle Eastern villains and other characters, Ansara found new life Hollywood playing the likes of Sheik Ramal in "McCloud," Abu Sofyan in "The Message," Hamaad in "Vega$" and Sheik Abdullah Casir in "Hardcastle and McCormick." His credits list runs to 189 titles, but the oddball in the group is "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy." He played Charlie. His last role was on a video game in 2001.

Ansara's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was placed in front of 6666 Hollywood Boulevard in 1960. He died Wednesday at home in Calabasas.

Ansara and Barbara Eden in 1966 | Max B. Miller

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