Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ricardo Montalban (1920-2009)

I just heard a few hours ago that Ricardo Montalban passed away in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

His cause of death is currently unknown, but the guy was 88 years old. Certainly he died with the dignity that is most fitting a man who nearly bested Captain Kirk. Montalban's wife died in 2007. According to IMdB, they were married for 63 years.

It doesn't need to be mentioned here, but obviously Montalban's great role in Star Trek was playing Khan Noonien Singh in the original series episode "Space Seed" as well as Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. "Space Seed" was an undeniable shining star among the strong lineup which was the first season of the original series. Although the character is quite over the top, Montalban's charisma elevated beyond the camp Star Trek. His turn in the second Star Trek movie as the same character may have been the single biggest factor to enable Star Trek II to unofficially be considered the greatest Star Trek movie so far. Plus Nicholas Meyer said it really is Montalban's real chest.

This blog and podcast also heartily endorse many of Montalban's other roles: most notably as Armando in Escape from the Planet of the Apes and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes as well as the awesome villain Vincent Ludwig in The Naked Gun.

Personally, I remember seeing Star Trek II in the the theater as a young boy. All I knew about Montalban was that he played the kind, polite Mr. Roarke in Fantasy Island; which I saw pieces of on television at the time. When I saw the genial Mr. Roarke transformed into the lunatic that was Khan on the big screen I was scared out of my mind.

In a recent email, Tim (one of the podcast listeners) opened with a long "KHHHHAAAAAAAANNnnnnnnn!" He then said sorry because "we're probably tired of hearing that." Well, actually, no. Never. We'll never get tired of "KHHHHAAAAAANNnnnn!" So feel free to keep saying it.

Rest in peace Ricky.


Elliott said...

Hi guys,

Just started listening to your podcast a few days ago -- great stuff. I've been rewatching TNG with a vengeance and it's interesting and funny to hear J.R.'s thoughts as he experiences the show for the first time.

Very coincidentally, I listened to your Wrath of Khan podcast on Tuesday night, then woke up on Wednesday to hear the sad news of Mr. Montalban's passing. Very strange. In his honor, I watched Wrath of Khan twice (second time with Meyer's excellent commentary).

Keep up the great work!

J.R. said...

¿Quién es más macho? Ricardo Mantalban. Just for today I'm willing to believe it was his real chest.