Posted by: GeekHiker | January 14, 2009

Rest In Peace, Mr. Montalban

Driving home from work today I heard the news on NPR that Ricardo Montalban had passed away.

It was news that struck me down deep, where my latent inner Trekkie lives.

I’ve admitted before that, back in high school, I was in to Star Trek along with my geek friends. As a result probably my strongest memory of Montalban comes from watching him portray Khan in Star Trek II. He pretty much walked away with the movie, chewing threw the scenery like it was breakfast cereal (and leaving little doubt he was having a ball doing it, too).

As an interesting side note, he was 61 when he played the part. Remember that, then look at this picture:


Man, what I wouldn’t give to have pecs like that when I’m 61. Sheesh.

Of course, there’s also plenty of memories of the handsome man striding around the Los Angeles County Arboretum, a.k.a. Fantasy Island. A lot of us probably remember that pretty fondly, eh? I mean, who wouldn’t want to be welcomed to an island paradise by that voice?

He was, without a doubt, the very definition of suave. And he was lucky enough to be married to the same woman for 63 years. Nice.

I saw him once, too.

Back in 2001, The Co-Worker and I attended a Star Trek Convention where he was appearing. She was curious about the simultaneously fascinating and horrible thing that is a Trekkie convention and I, though I’d sworn off that sort of thing after high school, couldn’t resist seeing Montalban.

I think some guy named Shatner was there, too.

At the time Montalban was in a wheelchair, suffering from a condition that left him in chronic pain. Still, he came out on stage and up to the microphone to talk to the audience. You know, in that fine “Corinthian Leather” voice.

I looked over at The Co-Worker, staring up at him on stage a bit dreamy-eyed as his voice filled the room.

“Oh, my God,” I said, “He’s still got it, doesn’t he?”

She didn’t take her glassy eyes off him.

“Ooooooh yeahhhhh…” she dreamily replied.

Suave indeed.



  1. And he was a fabulous Mr. Roarke! I so wanted to go to Fantasy Island. I had some ideas for me and Mr. Roarke.

  2. Yes, I am old. Shut up. I watched it in syndication.

  3. I think it might be my students’ fault. I tried to use a “da plane! da plane!” reference Monday in class….I was SO sad that none of the kids GOT the beauty that is Fantasy Island.

  4. I love the way he says his name. The even cooler thing is he reminds me of my dad, same mannerisms and word pronunciation. Since I lost dad in ’79, it was a treat to hear Mr. Montalban, a special one to see him on the tele.

  5. you know, i have never before seen star trek. gasp.

  6. The second ST movie was one of the best. It was cool that they got Montalban to reprise his Khan role from the original series (Episode: Space Seed). He will be missed.

    I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who has gone to a Star Trek convention. Mine was in Hawaii with Marina Surtis (ST:TNG Deanna Troi). I thought it was kind of weird and fascinating in a very geeky way. Also made me feel sorry for the people who thought it would be cool to come in costume.

  7. Also off the island–Patrick McGoohan.

    I’d be pretty nervous right now if I was Tina Louise, (for a variety of reasons).

  8. Such a great actor, he was always very handsome 🙂

  9. Straight out of Wikipedia, just for you:

    “There were some questions initially as to whether Montalbán had had prosthetic muscles applied to his chest during filming of Star Trek II to make him appear more muscular, on account of his being over 60 years old at the time. Montalbán and others associated with the production of Star Trek II have disputed this, most notably Leonard Nimoy in his book I Am Spock, citing the fact that he was always physically active and worked out regularly, and those really were his muscles. The theory that those chest muscles were Montalban’s own is furthered in the installment of the Biography series devoted to him, in which both William Shatner and Montalban’s son say Ricardo worked out strenuously to achieve that look. Film clips and shots throughout the episode bolster these claims, as they evidence a man in fine physical shape even into his 70s.”

  10. Dingo – He was. So much better than that silly remake.

    Dingo – Meh, I’m much older in spirit…

    Ms. H – Oh, dear, that’s no fun.

    Dobegil – Everyone loves that voice. Cool memory, thanks for sharing.

    KristinBlakely – Oh, dear, we must do something about that.

    Homer-Dog – It was. LOL – you’ve exposed your geek cred! The costumes are amazing, as is the time some people spend on them.

    Phil – I noticed that too. Hmmm…

    Narami – Suave right up until the end.

    Aaron – I read that, very cool.

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