Ricardo Montalban is a prolific actor with a very impressive résumé. The handsome and refined Montalban was born on November 25, 1920, in Mexico City, Mexico. His career, as documented on imdb, includes ninety-five feature films and recurring roles on television series, as well as sixty-six guest appearances.
Starting with his 1942 debut in the movie “Five Were Chosen,” Ricardo Montalban worked on multiple projects in almost every year until 1978 (Several of these were Mexican productions, primarily before 1948.), and his appearances on the big and little screens continue to this day. When Montalban began to transition into American-made movies, he initially appeared in a number of musicals, including several with Esther Williams. Eventually, Montalban gained recognition as a character actor. He appeared in the 1957 movie “Sayonara” as a Kabuki dancer, and in several productions (including the famous “How the West Was Won”) he portrayed Native Americans. In 1966’s “Madame X” he plays a society playboy, while in “Escape from the Planet of the Apes” and “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes” he brings to life the gentle-hearted circus manager Armando. In addition, he was the national spokesman for Chrysler in the 1970s. Most recently, Ricardo Montalban appeared as the grandfather in “Spy Kids 2,” and he also provided a voice for the animated children’s program “Kim Possible.”
There are, however, two roles for which Ricardo Montalban is most famous. In 1967, Montalban made a guest appearance on Star Trek as Khan Noonian Singh, a genetically engineered man who had nearly conquered the world in the mid-1990s (bearing in mind that Star Trek takes place in the 23rd Century), but had since been exiled into outer space after being placed into cryogenic stasis. in 1982, Star Trek’s producers contacted Montalban once more and devised the movie “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” which was written specifically to showcase Montalban (A good move, considering how wretched 1979’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” was.). The film was well received and is considered one of the best Star Trek films.
Ricardo Montalban’s other famous role is that of the enigmatic and charismatic Mr. Roarke, the proprietor of Fantasy Island. Mr. Roarke would arrange for his visitors’ wishes to come true, but they would never turn out to be quite what the traveler had in mind. Thus, the man or woman would learn an important life lesson. The show also featured the midget Hervé Villechaize as Roarke’s diminutive assistant Tattoo.
Ricardo Montalban has been married for more than fifty years to a minor actress named Georgiana Young, and they have four children.
(Some information taken from www.imdb.com.)
Everything2 editor's note: Mr Montalban died in Los Angeles on January 14, 2009.