It’s been years since I’ve looked at Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, but I do remember as a youngster buying into the idea that Ricardo Montalbán, who played the titular villain Khan, was wearing a prosthetic chest.
In case you’re not aware, it’s sort of an old urban legend that has been around for 35 years. Here is what the trivia on the IMDb says:
It has been widely debated that Ricardo Montalban’s chest was actually a prosthetic piece that he wore during the film. In the director’s commentary in the special edition DVD, Nicholas Meyer is quoted as saying that it was, in fact, Montalban’s actual chest and that he was a very muscular man who worked out. During publicity for the movie, during an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1982) Montalban explained that he was able to achieve the look seen in the film by doing push-ups. “A lot of push-ups.”
The problem some people had was that Montalbán was an older gentleman at the time of filming and had a chest that was alpha as fuck, coupled with some curious attire positioning and a necklace that in theory would hide a suspect seam, and some poor VHS quality, some insisted it was fake. The layers of crude, fake, makeup Nimoy and Shatner wore — it looks like they rolled their faces in their wive’s makeup drawers — probably didn’t help.
Well, the following pic puts that to rest decisively.
Proof that Khan's chest was the real deal. pic.twitter.com/49s22q9mbw
— ManlyMovie (@ManlyMovie) March 13, 2018
You can get a better look at Montalbán’s physique there, the ‘tactically placed’ clothing is gone. There is no fakery. Of course, watching it recently, I feel pretty stupid buying into that silly ‘debate’ that Montalbán was donning a fake chest in the early years of the internet. Because even without the pic, in the film it’s pretty obvious that it’s his real chest.
Montalbán doesn’t have the biggest arms in the world in the film, but you can still tell from his delts and arms that he was hitting the gym and the chest is just par for the course.
Again, no surprise. He was also into fitness as seen in his earlier days.
Now you want to talk about suspect Khan’s… I give you;