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Good-bye to Patrick McGoohan & Ricardo Montalban

January 15th, 2009

We lost two titans this past week:  

Patrick McGoohan is best known as “Number 6” in the bizarre 1960’s British TV show The Prisoner.  McGoohan plays a British agent who, after resigning from his position, is captured and held in a bizarre village from which he cannot escape.  Much surrealism follows.  We never find out McGoohan’s character’s name — he is referred to as “Number 6” by his captors.  (Some have viewed the show to be a sort-of continuation of another TV show, Danger Man, in which McGoohan portrayed a British secret agent named John Drake.)  Although short-lived, The Prisoner has proved to be an enormous inspiration for much of the sci-fi/fantasy programming that we’ve seen on TV over the past several decades.  The New York Times obituary for Mr. McGoohan contains a nice look back at his career.

Ricardo Montalban is probably best known to the world as enigmatic Mr. Roarke from Fantasy Island.  But to me he will always be William Shatner’s greatest nemesis — the brutal, Melville-quoting Khan.  Montalban appeared as Khan in only one episode of the original Star Trek series (“Space Seed”), but he memorably returned to wreak furious vengeance on Kirk and co. almost 20 years later in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  Trek has never had a better villain.  Here’s a nice look back at the life and work of Mr. Montalban.

Finally, here’s an interesting piece about both men that contains a terrific excerpt from an article by legendary film critic Pauline Kael about Montalban’s iconic performance in Star Trek II.

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