biography

Dashing actor Ricardo Montalban was born Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalban y Merino in Mexico City on November 25, 1920. He spent a good part of his youth in the U.S., where he completed his education. His acting career began in the early 1940s on Broadway, usually in small roles; afterward, he started acting in films in his native Mexico, where he proved a sensation. A chance meeting with beautiful Georgiana Young, Loretta Young's sister, culminated in marriage in 1944. The couple had four children, and their enduring marriage was certainly a rarity for Hollywood.

In 1948, Montalban signed with MGM, becoming that studio's resident handsome Latin lover-type. Early on, MGM cast him in several Esther Williams aquacade films in mostly decorative roles. Longing to break free of the Latin lover mould, he was finally cast in Border Incident (1949), in which he did an excellent job and was allowed to exercise his dramatic range. In the 1950s, he continued to fight the Latin stereotype and branched out into more character roles.

Ricardo MontalbanRicardo MontalbanRicardo MontalbanRicardo Montalban

LEFT and CENTER: Early 1950s beefcake photos of Ricardo Montalban. RIGHT: November 1949 issue of Life magazine with Montalban on the cover

Montalban's contract with MGM lapsed after his appearance in the 1957 film Sayonara, in which he portrayed Nakamura, the Kabuki dancer; this was one of his better roles while at MGM and demonstrated his acting range. From the late 1950s into the 1960s, Montalban did a number of Broadway shows but returned to films in the early 1960s.

the films of ricardo montalban

Mystery Street (1950)

Ricardo Montalban and Sally Forrest

With Sally Forrest in the MGM film noir thriller Mystery Street

Right Cross (1951)

Ricardo Montalban

Down for the count as boxer Johnny Monterez in the drama Right Cross

Mark of the Renegade (1951)

Ricardo Montalban and Andrea KingRicardo Montalban and Cyd CharisseRicardo Montalban and Cyd CharisseRicardo Montalban and Gilbert RolandRicardo Montalban, Andrea King, and Gilbert Roland

Images from Mark of the Renegade. LEFT: With Andrea King. CENTER A and CENTER B: With Cyd Charisse. CENTER C: In a duel with Gilbert Roland. RIGHT: With Andrea King and Gilbert Roland


Ricardo MontalbanRicardo MontalbanRicardo Montalban and J. Carrol NaishRicardo Montalban and George Tobias

More images from Mark of the Renegade. LEFT and CENTER A: Great promotional photos of Montalban. CENTER B: With J. Carrol Naish. RIGHT: With George Tobias, who is best known for his role as Abner Kravitz from the 1964-1972 TV series Bewitched

My Man and I (1952)

Ricardo Montalban and Shelley Winters

With Shelley Winters in My Man and I

Latin Lovers (1953)

Ricardo Montalban and Lana Turner

With Lana Turner in Latin Lovers

The Greatest Show on Earth (1963-1964 ABC TV Series)


Ricardo Montalban and Fay Spain

With Fay Spain in a 1963 episode of The Greatest Show on Earth titled The Hanging Man

The Singing Nun (1965)

Debbie Reynolds, Chad Everett, Ricardo Montalban, and Juanita Moore

With Debbie Reynolds, Chad Everett, and Juanita Moore in The Singing Nun

Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

Ricardo Montalban

As Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. In this sequel, Montalban reprises his role as Kahn; he had originally portrayed Kahn in a 1967 episode of Star Trek titled Space Seed

later years

No doubt due to his struggle to fight typecasting, Ricardo Montalban founded "Nosotros" in 1970, which is an organization whose purpose is to improve the image of Latinos and Hispanics as they are portrayed by the entertainment industry. In the 1960s and 1970s, Montalban did a number of stage productions and began working more in television. Although he acted in more than 70 films, Montalban is perhaps best known for his role as Mr. Roarke on the hit ABC-TV show Fantasy Island, or perhaps from his long association with the Chrysler Corporation. He made many commercials for Chrysler in the 1970s and 1980s, but the ones remembered best were for the 1975-1979 Chrysler Cordoba, in which Montalban touted the car's "rich Corinthian leather." From the late 1970s, he made few films but had acted on a number of TV series. His role as Khan Noonien Singh in the 1982 film Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, a reprisal of his 1967 guest appearance on the TV series Star Trek, earned him many new fans. Sadly, Montalban passed away on January 14, 2009, at the age of 88. He is survived by two sons, two daughters, and many grandchildren. Montalban was preceded in death by wife Georgiana Young (1923-2007).

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filmography

FILM
The Ant Bully (2006) with Meryl Steep, Nicolas Cage, Julia Roberts, and Lily Tomlin
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003) with Antonio Banderas, Sylvester Stallone, and Mike Judge
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (2002) with Antonio Banderas and Bill Paxton
The Naked Gun (1988) with Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, and O.J. Simpson
Cannonball Run II (1984) with Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982) with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy
Return to Fantasy Island (1978) with Adrienne Barbeau and George Maharis
Captains Courageous (1977) with Karl Malden
Mission to Glory (1977) with Richard Egan, John Ireland, Cesar Romero, and Rory Calhoun
Fantasy Island (1977) with Carol Lynley and Hugh O'Brian
Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976)
Joe Panther (1976) with Brian Keith
McNaughton's Daughter (1976) with Susan Clark and Vera Miles
The Mark of Zorro (1974) with Frank Langella, Gilbert Roland, and Yvonne De Carlo
Wonder Woman (1974) with Cathy Lee Crosby and Anitra Ford
The Train Robbers (1973) with John Wayne, Ann-Margret, Rod Taylor, and Christopher George
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) with Roddy McDowall
Fireball Forward (1972) with Ben Gazzara and Anne Francis
The Face of Fear (1971)
The Deserter (1971) with Richard Crenna, Chuck Connors, and Woody Strode
Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971) with Bradford Dillman, Roddy McDowall, and Jason Evers
Sarge (1971) with George Kennedy and Diane Baker
The Aquarians (1970) with Jose Ferrer and Leslie Nielsen
The Desperate Mission (1969) with Slim Pickens, Roosevelt Grier, Earl Holliman, and Ina Balin
Black Water Gold (1969) with Keir Dullea, Aron Kincaid, Bradford Dillman, and Lana Wood
Sweet Charity (1969) with Shirley MacLaine
Sol Madrid (1968) with David McCallum and Stella Stevens
Blue (1968) with Terence Stamp
Escape from Bataan (1967) with Katharine Ross and Doug McClure
Alice Through the Looking Glass (1966) with Jack Palance, Richard Denning, Jimmy Durante, Nanette Fabray, Agnes Moorehead, Tom Smothers, and Dick Smothers
Madame X (1966) with Lana Turner and John Forsythe
The Money Trap (1965) with Glenn Ford and Elke Sommer
The Singing Nun (1965) with Debbie Reynolds and Chad Everett
Cheyenne Autumn (1964) with Richard Widmark, Carroll Baker, Gilbert Roland, George O'Brien, and John Carradine
Love Is a Ball (1963) with Glenn Ford and Hope Lange
The Reluctant Saint (1962) with Maximilian Schell, Mark Damon, and Luciana Paluzzi
Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man (1962) with Paul Newman, Susan Strasberg, Jessica Tandy, Eli Wallach, Diane Baker, Corinne Calvet, Fred Clark, and Dan Dailey
Rage of the Buccaneers (1961) with Vincent Price
Let No Man Write My Epitaph (1960) with Shelley Winters and Burl Ives
Sayonara (1957) with Marlon Brando
Desert Warrior (1956)
Three for Jamie Dawn (1956) with Laraine Day and Richard Carlson
The Queen of Babylon (1956) with Rhonda Fleming
A Life in the Balance (1955) with Anne Bancroft
Untouched (1954)
The Saracen Blade (1954) with Betta St. John and Carolyn Jones
Latin Lovers (1953) with Lana Turner
Sombrero (1953) with Pier Angeli and Yvonne De Carlo
My Man and I (1952) with Shelley Winters and Wendell Corey
Across the Wide Missouri (1951) with Clark Gable and John Hodiak
Mark of the Renegade (1951) with Gilbert Roland, Cyd Charisse, and Andrea King
Two Weeks with Love (1950) with Jane Powell
Right Cross (1950) with Dick Powell and June Allyson
Mystery Street (1950) with Jan Sterling, Bruce Bennett, Marshall Thompson, and Sally Forrest
The Kissing Bandit (1949) with Frank Sinatra
Neptune's Daughter (1949) with Esther Williams and Red Skelton
Battleground (1949) with Van Johnson and John Hodiak
Border Incident (1949)
On an Island with You (1948) with Esther Williams
Fiesta (1947) with Esther Williams and Mary Astor
Fantasía ranchera (1947)
Pepita Jiménez (1946)
The House of the Fox (1945)
The Hour of Truth (1945)
Nosotros (1945)
Cadetes de la naval (1945)
La fuga (1944)
Cinco fueron escogidos (1943)
La razón de la culpa (1943)
Santa (1943)
El verdugo de Sevilla (1942)
Five Were Chosen (1942)

TELEVISION SERIES
Freakazoid!, 1995-1997 animated TV series
Heaven Help Us, 1994 TV series. Montalban portrayed Mr. Shepherd
The Colbys, 1985-1987 TV series. Montalban portrayed Zachary Powers
Fantasy Island, 1978-1984 TV series. Montalban portrayed Mr. Roarke

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This page premiered July 16, 2002.
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