Death of Khan (1920-2009)

Montalban as Khan

Actor Ricardo Montalban died January 14 at the age of 88. Starting out in MGM musicals, he later made himself memorable to Americans as Fantasy Island’s Mr. Roarke, and as the fellow who extolled the Chrysler Cordoba’s “rich Corinthian leather.”

More importantly to legions of Star Trek fans, he played Khan, the superhuman tyrant in classic Star Trek’s “Space Seed” episode. He returned in the title role of the second Trek movie, where he initiates a chain of events leading to the self-sacrificial death of Spock. Series fans consistently name Khan as its most formidable villain.

(Oddly enough, despite all of Khan’s quasi-Shakespearean ranting, I thought the most memorable line in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was Chekov’s pathetic declaration, “Cap’n, they put things in our ears to control our minds!”)

Update 1/15/2009: How embarrassing is that…the info was right in front of me in the Wikipedia article, but did I pay attention? Noooo… Corrected reference, per David Klaus’ comment.