khan artist: R.I.P. Ricardo Montalban

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A fond farewell to actor Ricardo Montalban who died today at the age of 88. To many, he is remembered as the voiceover for the Chrysler Cordoba, extolling the virtues of its soft... Corinthian leather. Others will always see him alongside the diminutive Herve Villechaize, both resplendent in white formal wear, declaring "I am your host, Mr. Roarke. Welcome... to Fantasy Island!"

For me, a closet pre-Trekkie high school senior in 1982, the year Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was released, Montalban will always be remembered as Khan, the only man to push James T. Kirk to the limits of his abilities and the only actor to push William Shatner to the limits of overacting. I have the perverse hope that Montalban managed to conjure Khan's last words (from Herman Melville's Moby Dick), "To the last, I will grapple with thee... from Hell's heart, I stab at thee! For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee!" Rest in peace, Ricardo, in thickly cushioned luxury.

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