Ansara was born in a small village in Syria to American parents. He came to the United States when he was 2 years-old and lived in Lowell, Massachusetts before moving to California as a teenager with his parents and entered Los Angeles City College with the intention of becoming a doctor. A stint at the Pasadena Playhouse (where fellow students included Charles Bronson, Carolyn Jones and Aaron Spelling) led to roles on stage and in films.
Ansara starred as Native Americans on two 1950s primetime series: the ABC Western “Broken Arrow” (1956-1958) as Cochise and as Deputy U.S. Marshal Sam Buckhart, an Apache, on NBC's “Law of the Plainsman” (1959-1960). He appeared in his only Euro-western as Colonel Diego in “Guns of the Magnificent Seven” (1969) starring George Kennedy.
Ansara, who was married for a brief time in the 1950s to the late Jean Byron, who played the mom on The Patty Duke Show. Then actress Barbara Eden of ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ fame from 1958-74. Their son, Matthew Michael Ansara, died in 2001. An actor, he died of an accidental heroin overdose at age 35.
Survivors include Beverly, his wife of 36 years, his sister Rose, his niece Michelle and nephew