Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ricardo Montalban, RIP

Man, it's just one of those days.

There are some famous faces who seem somehow immortal, as if they're immutable parts of our cultural landscape and will outlast us all. Ricardo Montalban was one of those faces.

Whether it was as Fantasy Island's benevolent host Mr. Rourke, the kindly circus owner Armando in the middle installments of the Planet of the Apes movie series (Escape From and Conquest of, for those keeping score), or one of innumerable other roles, it's doubtful there's anyone who watched TV or went to the movies in the last half century-plus who hadn't seen Montalban as someone in something.

My first exposure to him, naturally, was in what is arguably his most indelible role, that of the titular "Khaaaaaaan!" in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan from 1982, a role he reprised after appearing in the episode "Space Seed" from Star Trek's first season in '66. It's a testament to the lasting imprint Montalban and his rubber pecs left on the Trek franchise that they spent the next eight movies over the next twenty years trying to find a villain to match him.

And they never did.

1 comment:

Andrew Wood said...

You are so right - a sad day for lovers of sci-fi and fantasy.