Family & Companions
Although best known for his roles playing Native American characters, veteran stage and screen actor Michael Ansara was in fact born in Syria and raised in California. Ansara developed an interest in acting after he entered Los Angeles City College, originally planning to become a doctor. To overcome shyness in class he took an acting course, which led to him working at the Pasadena Playhouse with students such as Charles Bronson and Aaron Spelling. Ansara made his screen debut in 1944 and gained the attention of Hollywood after an appearance in the 1953 big-budget biblical epic "The Robe." A few years later he appeared in the Cecil B. DeMille biblical epic "The Ten Commandments" before he received the most prominent role of his career, playing the lead role of famed Apache leader Cochise in the 1956 western TV series "Broken Arrow." While working on the series, the 20th Century Fox publicity department arranged a date between Ansara and Barbara Eden, after which they eventually married. The couple acted on Eden's show "I Dream of Jeannie" and on the film "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" before Ansara appeared in another religious picture, "The Greatest Story Ever Told," with Charlton Heston. Ansara has appeared on television extensively, including on science-fiction series such as "The Time Tunnel" and "The Outer Limits." Ansara appeared as the character Kang on the original "Star Trek" series and is one of six actors to play the same character on three different "Star Trek" shows.