Ricardo Montalbán (1920 – 2009)

Ricardo Montalbán died today. Montalbán’s memory is forever imprinted on the Star Trek collective consciousness as Khan Noonien Singh. First in the episode from the original series, Space Seed, and then in the movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I worked at a video store in high school and it was required to watch this movie at least once a day (we were all Star Trek geeks). I’ve probably watched this movie more than any other movie in my life – I can recite the entire screenplay from memory (did I mention I’m a geek?). Needless to say, it is a sad day for Trekies around the world. Montalbán was an amazing actor and inspired Saturday Night Live skits and inside jokes between Trekies for decades now.

Star Trek II works on many levels because it is about revenge and blind rage. We’ve all been there but very few go over the edge. Khan does. The classic of this genre being Moby Dick, which Trek uses brilliantly:

“He tasks me! He tasks me! And I shall have him. I’ll chase him round the moons of Nibia and round the Antares maelstrom and round perdition’s flames before I give him up!” – Khan

“To the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.” – Khan

We will miss you, Ricardo, but rest in peace. You are loved and admired by millions of fans around the world.

Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán Merino (1920 – 2009)

1 comments On Ricardo Montalbán (1920 – 2009)

  • It’s a combination of two quotes from Moby Dick:

    “All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event — in the living act, the undoubted deed — there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there’s naught beyond. But ’tis enough. He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me. For could the sun do that, then could I do the other; since there is ever a sort of fair play herein, jealousy presiding over all creations. But not my master, man, is even that fair play. Who’s over me? Truth hath no confines.”


    “Aye, aye! It was that accursed white whale that razeed me; made a poor pegging lubber of me for ever and a day!” Then tossing both arms, with measureless imprecations he shouted out: “Aye, aye! and I’ll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition’s flames before I give him up. And this is what ye have shipped for, men! to chase that white whale on both sides of land, and over all sides of earth, till he spouts black blood and rolls fin out.”

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