Born: 25 November 1920
Died: 14 January 2009
Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico
Best known as: Mr. Roarke from TV's Fantasy Island
Name at birth: Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalban Merino
Among television viewers, Ricardo Montalban is remembered as Mr. Roarke, the mysterious white-suited host of the TV drama Fantasy Island (1978-1984), and as a pitchman for the "soft Corinthian leather" of the luxury Chrysler Cordoba. Montalban was one of a handful of Latin leading men who broke into Hollywood movies in the 1940s and 1950s, though he was often cast as an Arab, a Native American or in other ethnic roles. Montalban also played creepy superdude Khan, Captain Kirk's nemesis in a famous 1967 episode of TV's Star Trek, and reprised the role in a 1982 movie, The Wrath of Khan. But it was his Fantasy Island turn as Mr. Roarke -- dapper and all-knowing, assisted by the teensy aide-de-camp Tattoo (played by Herve Villechaize) -- that made him a star. He also played Grandfather in Spy Kids 2 (2002) and Spy Kids 3 (2003). He was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Screen Actors Guild in 1994.
Montalban’s wife, Georgiana, was the sister of actress Loretta Young… Montalban founded Nosotros, an organization promoting Latino involvement and image in the film industry; Nosotros also was the name of a 1945 film starring Montalban.
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