Michael Ansara

Globe Photos/ZUMAPRESS.com

Star Trek fans, it's time to throw back your heads and roar a warning to the dead: A Klingon warrior is coming.

Michael Ansara, the actor who played Klingon Commander Kang not only on the original series, but also on Deep Space Nine and Voyager, has died. He was 91.

His longtime friend and onetime publicist Michael B. Druxman confirmed the news, telling Entertainment Weekly, "Michael and I have been friends since 1968. He was my best friend. He had a long illness. He died at home. He was a great guy, and a wonderful actor."

Born in Syria to American parents, Ansara first gained TV fame through playing Native American characters, notably Cochise in the 1950s series Broken Arrow. His varied guest-starring roles also included appearances on I Dream of Jeannie with his then-wife Barbara Eden. The couple divorced in 1974.

But it was his three turns as Kang that will likely be his most enduring pop-culture legacy. In the 1968 original series episode "Day of the Dove," his ruthless, intelligent Kang matches wits with William Shatner's James T. Kirk in a low-tech, bloody battle for control of the Enterprise—until both sides realize that an alien entity is pitting them against one another.

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In his later appearances—Deep Space Nine's "Blood Oath"  (1994) and Voyager's "Flashback"  (1996)—he's wearing the bumpy-forehead latex makeup that the original-series Klingons lacked, but his resonant voice is still instantly recognizable.

Ansara, who received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, continued to work in sci-fi and fantasy, most recently lending that unmistakable voice to the role of Mr. Freeze on several animated Batman shows.

He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Beverly Kushida.

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