Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ricardo Montalban: 1920-2009

Space, the final frontier. And so goes another to the stars. The beloved Mexican born, Fantasy Island [1978-1984] actor Ricardo Montalban passes to the next life at the age of 88.

It's always sad to see one of our beloved Star Trek connections go to the great beyond. Montalban was there to give me much enjoyment with Fantasy Island along with his co-star Herve Villechaize [1943-1993] who played Tattoo. Herve has since passed as well. Would these people please stop dying on me!
Montalban was certainly renowned for the line, "Welcome to Fantasy Island," but for us science fiction fans he was notable for playing a key role in Star Trek: The Original Series. He delivered the charismatic role of genetically engineered super guy Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek, Season One, Episode 22, Space Seed. The Enterprise would discover a 20th century vessel whereby they would revive Khan from a sleeper state. Montalban was one of the most delicious villains of the Federation and a real thorn in the side of Captain James T. Kirk. He would be one of his greatest adversaries. His portrait was so memorable he would reprise the role for one of the best Star Trek films to ever grace the silver screen, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. He also appeared in the third and fourth installments of the Planet Of The Apes series, Escape From The Planet Of The Apes and Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes respectively.
It's funny I should pull up the news on Montalban today. Just recently I had read a bit about his co-star from Space Seed, Madlyn Rhue [1935-2003] who played Lt. Marla McGivers. She was one of those rare beauties. She was a red shirt no less and she too befalls her own fate to the seductive ways of Khan. Sadly she has since passed away from multiple sclerosis. I just can't stand it I tell you.
All of these wonderful actors are dropping like flies and making me feel very mortal lately. They are really putting a damper on my delusion that I might be able to live forever.
Anyway, it's another sad day for Star Trek fandom to see the man behind one of science-fiction's finest performances depart, the recipient of one of Kirk's most famously utterred words "KHAAAAAAAAN!" gone, and yet another cold, hard dose of reality for The Sci-Fi Fanatic.
Here is one of the final moments from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Ricardo Montalban breathes fire and venom from the vengeful character of Khan. He was a key component to the revival of Star Trek on film.


aris-tgd said...

Oh, how sad!

I also just recently saw his guest star turns on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. He was fantastic.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

I know it. It makes you want to go back and check out his work.

coffee said...

in retrospect, i think Dos Equis should have hired Ricardo Montalban to do a few ads for them as their "most interesting man in the world" (he has a Spanish accent too, which fits perfectly)