I’m a day late posting about this, because there was no adequate youtube compilation available at the time. There is now, however. See below for some of Khan’s greatest hits.
Yesterday, Ricardo Montalban passed on at the age of 88. My first instinct was to remember him as Khan Noonien Singh, the one role he played that most impacted me. I’m a bit of a Star Trek nerd, though I haven’t the trivial knowledge to earn the title Trekkie. Yet.
But I’ve been reading the obituaries and emails since yesterday, and there’s much to say about Ricardo Montalban, the man off-screen.
I’m not writing an obituary … I wouldn’t know how. I won’t go through the dates or the achievements or that sort of thing. I do know some interesting things to share. For instance, like Ronald Reagan, Montalban spent some time as Vice-President of the Screen Actors Guild (Reagan, of course, went on to become the President of SAG) But that’s not the only thing the great Khan had in common with the great CONservative … Montalban was a conservative man, at the least in his choice of reading. He was a subscriber and friend to National Review.
I also discover from email anecdotes from friends that Montalban was fiercely pro-life, having had an epiphany on when the fully unique man that he was came to be formed. Upon reasoning, while in the hospital, that life began in the womb, he maintained the courage of his conviction from that day forward.
Courage is something you could sense in him, in his acting or even seeing him in interviews. It is a word common in the personal anecdotes that people have shared in the last day. For forty years he suffered an ailment, causing walking to be in turns painful or excruciatingly painful. A guest on Laura Ingraham’s show yesterday once interviewed the aging actor, who was wheelchair bound at the time. The story I hear from the set of Spy Kids is that he handled his pain by withstanding it, resisting it. He stood and performed and toughed it out.
Ricardo Montalban is one of those actors who, when they at last move on to be with their Lord, you realize you already missed them. His distinctive character, and his devotion to his long time, and only, wife, his dedication to his craft, and his strength in tribulation … you put this all together only after he’s gone and you realize the world lost a good man.
No, he wasn’t very much like Khan. But Khan Noonien Singh was in many ways like Ricardo Montalban. At least, he wanted to be. And it seems to me, that’s a pretty good thing to want to be. Rest in peace.