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RIP: Ricardo Montalban

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In a day that has sent pop culture fans reeling, we’ve also lost Ricardo Montalban. Best known as the white-suited smoothie from Fantasy Island, the Mexican-born star had an early career in musicals before becoming a regular as a Latin lover, spending time with Tattoo making dreams come true, and making perhaps his strongest impression as Khan, the scenery-chewing but delightful villain in STAR TREK 2: THE WRATH OF KHAN.

Truly, it is a sad day for nerds, with Montalban and McGoohan gone in a single day.

  1. This is indeed a dark day; even though McGoohan died yesterday, we all found out today.

    And I almost hate to say it……….but there HAS to be a 3rd to complete the dreaded “death trifecta” coming…

  2. For my generation, Wrath of Khan was the movie you could watch a million times on cable and it would never get old. But for this generation, Wrath of Khan helped spawn the idea that a genre sequel could be better than the original. Empire and Superman II paved the way, but Khan built it around a single, cool villain with ties to nerd continuity. Wrath of Khan was The Dark Knight of the early eighties and Montalban was The Joker, fake chest and all. The backup lights shimmering over the exposed wiring as Khan played a deadly game of chess with Kirk? Gold. The guy had an amazing career as an actor, and has real significance to us geeks, esp. in the way nerd sequels are made. So let’s give him the moment. “Places everyone, places!”

    Brad

  3. By coincidence, I just watched the 1949 film, “Battleground.” Though Van Johnson was the main “star” of the movie (and it’s considered one of his best films), I was pleasantly surprised to find a young Montalban in the ensemble cast in a small but very visible role.

  4. I remember him on a Gunsmoke episode, he commanded respect in any role he took. You believed him to be from an Indian to a space tyrant. The man could play any role. I loved him in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes as Armando, he gave a dimension of humanity to a world of savages. So small was the role, yet is was very important to the story.

  5. In the early 1990’s, he did an infomercial for an indoor grill not unlike George Foreman’s (it was called “The Grillerie.”) New York’s Channel 11 ran it during a rain delay. Only thing I ever purchased from an infomercial. He was THAT good.

    And will be missed.

  6. MONTALBAAAAAAAAAN!!!!

    FANTASY ISLAND, THE NAKED GUN and STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAAAAAAAAN make for a solid geek trifecta. After losing Patrick McGoohan, this news is even more disheartening.

    Rest In Peace, Ricardo.

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