RIP Ricardo Montalban

January 14, 2009

Another sad loss today: Ricardo Montalban is gone.

The smooth-voiced Mexican actor is best remembered for two roles: Mr. Roarke on Fantasy Island, and Khan Noonien Singh on Star Trek and the best science fiction film of all time, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Man, I loved this guy. He was everywhere when I was a kid, doing commercials, popping up on TV shows. I could listen to that voice all day. And if you know anything about me, you probably understand the effect a show like Fantasy Island had on a Trek-loving daydreaming kid who longed for adventure. Then Ricardo showed up that Planet of the Apes movie and my young nerdometer spun ’round the dial.

See? I told you it was his real chest.

See? I told you it was his real chest.

When he returned as Khan in Wrath, I was beyond stoked. The eugenically-enhanced superhuman conqueror was one of my favourite Star Trek villains from the series, and seeing early promo photos of him all wild-haired and savage really helped pique my thirst for the film.

I’ll bet you I’ve seen it more than 500 times since then. You may have, too. That movie is perfect Trek, and a lot of that has to do with the excellence of Montalban and his fantastic chemistry with Shatner’s Kirk … despite the fact that the two men filmed their scenes separately and didn’t meet until filming was over.

So I’m saying farewell to a man who was a huge part of my entertainment life, a guy who became one of my heroes by playing a splendid villain.

More of his life story can be found here.

Note: In marginally related news, I once theorized that the island on Lost is actually the long-defunct and abandoned Fantasy Island, and that Mr. Rourke was the founder of the Dharma Initiative. It would explain so much … but I’m probably wrong.


  1. You know, the next time I’m at a loss for a topic for the starbase I’m keeping my mouth shut. I don’t need any more homicidal ‘favors’ from the fates. šŸ˜¦

  2. Rest in Peace! šŸ˜¦

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