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)