Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Death of Khan

Star Trek.  It was inevitable that I'd tackle this franchise, and this post probably won't be the last.  While I have located and documented the graves of several of the highly talented actors and producers from the various TV and film franchises, I've decided to devote this post to the best of the best, 1982's Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. 

While several people from the film have passed away, only four have been laid to rest.  The others, including Gene Roddenberry, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Bibi Besch, and Merritt Butrick were all cremated.  I know, selfish.  But there are four graves all on the West Coast where you can pay your respects to those who made this film a reality.  And who better to start with than the headliner himself?

Ricardo Montalban, who will forever be known as Star Trek's greatest villain, passed on January 14, 2009.  Ironically, he almost passed on the film, after initially believing it wasn't as meaty a part as he would have preferred.  But ultimately, he saw the passion that Khan had in his quest for revenge, and found it a welcome relief from six seasons of the more benign Mr. Roark on Fantasy Island.

: Holy Cross Cemetery
Section EE, Tier 3, grave 21
GPS: 33.9963875, -118.3813858 (hddd.dddd)
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Enough books have been written on Leonard Nimoy to fill a library, including a few by Nimoy himself.  Suffice it to say, if you've come to this page, you probably know enough about this man and his green-blooded counterpart, both of whom died on February 27, 2015.  Like Montalban, Nimoy had initial reservations about appearing in the film, due to the lackluster response of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which is probably still playing right now.  He gave in, when promised a memorable death scene.

Hillside Memorial Park
Plot: Garden of Solomon, Block 4, Space 10
GPS: 33.9795837, -118.3875427 (hddd.dddd)
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Paul Winfield, who played the doomed Captain Terrell of the Starship Reliant, had a long history of diabetes and obesity.  It culminated in a heart attack, suffered on March 7, 2004.  It came two years after the loss of his partner, architect Charles Gillan, Jr., who died of bone cancer in 2002.

: Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills
Plot: Court of Liberty, Lot 1475

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Harve Bennett, who was best known for having produced The Six Million Dollar Man for television, was asked to produce Khan by Paramount Pictures.  The studio was hoping to provide a faster-paced, more memorable film than the original.  Bennett delivered.  To find his grave however, you have to leave Los Angeles, and head about 1,000 miles north.  Bennett, a former veteran, is interred in Portland Oregon.  His marker notes both his service to his country as well as the popular sci-fi franchise.  He passed on February 25, 2015, just two days before Leonard Nimoy.  Fascinating!

Location: Williamette National Cemetery,
Plot: Columbarium 6, Row 801, Site A

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The day I visited Portland it had been hit by an ice storm.  I passed multiple wrecks en route to Williamette.  When I finally arrived, the steep winding roads were covered in ice.  I wisely abandoned my rental car, and hiked down the long winding slope, in a desperate search for Harve.  One of the hardest graves I've ever documented.

Next Up:  An extra-terrestrial buried in Texas!

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