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.
Extra credit: 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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