KHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNN! Ricardo Montalbán R.I.P

What a depressing start to the New Year. First, lovely John Scott Martin, legendary 'monster man' from the Doctor Who series, passed away. On Tuesday, we lost Patrick McGoohan and now Hollywood legend Ricardo Montalbán.



This is uncanny, as only the other week I was happily sitting down and watching a beautifully restored version of the Star Trek episode, 'Space Seed' in which, of course, we first meet that genetic superman Khan Noonian Singh, as superbly played by Ricardo. Whilst watching, I remarked on what a magnificent specimen of a man he was and a jolly good actor too. He will of course be remembered by all genre fans for reprising the role of Khan in the sublimely brilliant Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan. He utterly stole that movie and his Khan-isms are indelibly etched on my and, probably millions of, other geek brains. There was always some question over whether he wore falsies to make himself loook more muscular in the film but various sources, including Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner, always indicated that the chest you see in the film is Ricardo's own because he strenuously worked out and kept himself fit.

He started out in Westerns, always offered the Indian or Latin parts. But his work spanned Broadway musicals, television series, radio, feature films, advertising. He was the spokesman, in 1975, for Chrysler and promoted their Cordoba model very successfully. On television he was also well known as Mr. Roarke on Fantasy Island, teaming with Herve Villechaize as his sidekick Tatoo - "Boss, the plane, the plane''. It was a hugely successful series and cemented his popularity. His films included Sweet Charity, The Naked Gun, Spy Kids and my personal favourites Escape From The Planet Of The Apes and Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes. His television appearances included Ironside, Mission: Impossible, Gunsmoke, Dynasty, The Colbys and Murder, She Wrote.

A spinal injury he received on the film Across The Wide Missouri continued to aggravate him, despite surgery, well into his later years and from 1993 he was forced to use, and perform from, a wheelchair. Montalbán died on January 14, 2009, at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 88.

And I think it's best I leave it to Khan: "No...no, you can't get away...from hell's heart, I stab at thee...for hate's sake, I spit my last breath...at thee..."

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