Nathan Jung, the actor who played Genghis Kang in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Savage Curtain," has died. He was 74 years old. Jung's appearance in Star Trek was his debut as an actor. In the episode, he didn't play the actual Genghis Khan, but a recreation of the historical figure created by the alien Excalbian race. The Excalbians had devised a plot to determine whether good was mightier than evil. To that end, Genghis Khan teamed with Colonel Phillip Green, the Klingon hero Kahless, and the mad scientist Zora on "team evil" against Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, President Abraham Lincoln, and the Vulcan philosopher Surak, forming "team good."
Timothy Tau, Jung's friend, confirmed to Variety that the actor died on April 24th. He did not disclose the cause of Jung's death.
Jung's height often helped land him "heavy" roles on television. After playing Genghis Kang in Star Trek, he'd appear and many other television shows, including The A-Team, M*A*S*H*, Starsky & Hutch, CHiPs, General Hospital, Manimal, Riptide, and Hunter. He played Helen Funai's cousin, Saburyo, in Sanford and Son and the Dark Rider in Kung Fu.
In the 1990s, Jung played Jzuk-Mao in two episodes of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. He also appeared in Martial Law and Burke's Law.
Jung worked with both Bruce Lee and Lee's son, Brandon Lee. He played opposite Bruce in an episode of Here Comes the Brides. He worked with Brandon twice, first in the 1991 film Showdown in Little Tokyo and again in 1992's Rapid Fire. Jung's final role was narrating Tau's 2016 documentary short "Nathan Jung v. Bruce Lee," which recounted Jung's meeting with Bruce on the Here Comes the Brides set.
Jung's other film appearances include roles in Kentucky Fried Movie, Big Trouble in Little China, Black Rain, American Yakuza, Beverly Hills Ninja, Darkman, The Shadow, Longshot, and Surf Ninjas. He was also a part of the independent Asian American film scene, appearing in Justin Lin's Finishing the Game and Juwan Chung's Baby.
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Actor Peter Sinkoda, who has appeared in Marvel's Daredevil and many other television shows, posted a highlight reel featuring Jung's work and a photo to Instagram, along with his remembrance. "One of my best friends in life passed away today. He had the best true stories of the 'old days'. RIP #NathanJung. You contributed hugely to #AsianAmerican #Cinema & #Hollywood over your amazing lifetime. I will remember what you did for us. For me. Good night old man. You'll always be a legend to me."
Jung is survived by his nephew, Keith Jung.