A man who has been on the screen, large and small alike — Ricardo Montalban passed away today at his home in Los Angeles. He was 88.
One only need to look through his 160-plus acting listings on IMDb to see the vast amount of contributions and endless entertainment that he offered to countless fans. But what the Mexican-born actor is probably best known for is his role as the white-suit-wearing wish-fulfiller Mr. Roarke on the classic TV show Fantasy Island from 1978 to 1984. Though for us in the world of Geek, he is and always shall be known simply as Khan, Captain James T. Kirk’s most formidable foe. Montalban first portrayed the genetically engineered Khan Noonien Singh in an episode of the original Star Trek television series in 1967 called “Space Seed.” He triumphantly returned to the role 15 years later in the 1982 film Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, making the villain legendary. As Khan, Montalbon not only had some of the best dialogue in the Trek sequel, but his character also incited one of most famous lines in all Trek canon when Kirk screams Khan’s name in desperation (read about our love of this scene in our 12 Of The Best Payback Moments in Film).
Montalban first showed up on screen in 1942’s Five Were Chosen and since then has appeared in everything from old TV shows like Mission: Impossible, I Spy, and Gunsmoke to movies like Escape from the Planet of the Apes and The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad.
Aside from all of these incredibly well known titles, the actor proved that he also knew how to have a little fun, doing a lot of voice work on kids shows like Dora the Explorer and Kim Possible. His very last appearance was a small voice role as a talking cow in an episode of Family Guy.