Entry for January 15, 2009: ’60s icons pass

Fellow genre entertainment fans, by now, you may have seen the sad news of the deaths of 1960s icons Eartha Kitt, Ricardo Montalban, and Patrick McGoohan.

Kitt was best known as one of the actresses who played Catwoman in the campy Batman television series (Batman himself has been killed, of only temporarily, in the comics). She was also funny in the Eddie Murphy comedy Boomerang and as Izma in Disney's animated Emperor's New Groove. When I saw her at a convention a few years ago, she was still a magnetic singer and dancer.

Montalban, who was a leading man during the Latin craze of the 1940s and '50s, was best known to space opera fans as genetically engineered villain Khan Noonien Singh in the original Star Trek and Wrath of Khan. His charisma was undeniable in the original Fantasy Island, and I saw Montalban most recently in the Spy Kids movies.

Patrick McGoohan played John Drake in the 1960s espionage TV series Secret Agent, which was a rare in not being a parody of the James Bond films. I have fond memories of watching him as "Number 6" in the surrealistic, paranoid Prisoner, which is about to be remade for AMC. McGoohan was King Edward I in Mel Gibson's Braveheart and was also the inspiration for the appearance of the supernatural superhero Dr. Fate in Justice League Unlimited.

I would be remiss if I did not also mention the passing of Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who was key to the Star Trek universe. All of these fine actors will be missed, but their legacy will live on.