Ricardo Montalbán

Infobox actor

caption = from the trailer for "Fiesta" (1947)
imagesize = 250px
birthdate = birth date and age|1920|11|25
birthplace = Mexico City, Mexico
birthname = Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalban y Merino
spouse = Georgiana Young (1944-2007)
yearsactive = 1942 - present
occupation = actor, director
emmyawards = Outstanding Supporting Actor - Comedy/Drama Series
1978 "How the West Was Won (Part II)"
sagawards = Life Achievement Award
1994 Lifetime Achievement
awards = Golden Boot

Ricardo Gonzálo Pedro Montalbán Merino KCSG (born November 25, 1920) is a Mexican television, theatre, and film actor. He has a career spanning decades and multiple notable roles. During the late 1970s, he was the spokesperson in automobile advertisements for Chrysler Cordoba (in which he famously extols the "Corinthian leather" used for its interior). From 1977-1984 he was the lead character Mr. Roarke in the television series "Fantasy Island". He also played the villainous Khan Noonien Singh in both the 1967 "Space Seed" episode of the first season of the original ' series, and again in the 1982 film '. He won a "Supporting Actor" Emmy Award in 1978, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in 1993. Though currently in his 80s, he continues to perform, often providing voices for animated films and commercials, such as one that aired during the 2007 Super Bowl XLI.


Personal life

Montalbán was born in Mexico City, the son of Ricarda (née Merino) and Jenaro Montalbán, a store manager. [ [http://www.filmreference.com/film/29/Ricardo-Montalban.html Ricardo Montalban Biography (1920-) ] ] He had a brother, actor Carlos Montalbán, and a sister, Carmen. [ [http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/contributor/1800015033/bio Ricardo Montalban Biography - Yahoo! Movies ] ] Montalbán is a practicing Roman Catholic and has said that his religion is "the most important thing in his life". [ [http://www.catholicweb.com/media_index.cfm?fuseaction=view_article&partnerid=18&article_id=547 CatholicWeb.com Catholic Web Church Parish Diocese Software Email News Site Directory ] ] He remains a Mexican citizen by choice, having never taken out citizenship in the United States.

He married Georgiana Young, a minor actress, in 1944; they had four children. She was half-sister of the late actresses Sally Blane, Polly Ann Young, and Oscar-winner Loretta Young, who nicknamed her "Georgie". Georgiana Young de Montalbán died on November 13, 2007, aged 84, of undisclosed causes. Her death was not publicly known for some time as no formal obituaries were published, including in such papers as "The Los Angeles Times", "Variety" and "The New York Times". Bloggers first reported the story. She is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, Section EE, #21. She is survived by her husband, their four children and a large extended family including grandchildren, nephews and nieces.


Montalbán has stated that when he first arrived in Hollywood, studios wanted to change his name to Ricky Martin. [See at 57 seconds into his interview for the Archive of American Television in 2002 http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7687635617267643616&q=%22ricardo+montalban%22&hl=en] He has frequently portrayed Asian characters - mostly of Japanese background (as in "Sayonara" and the "Hawaii Five-O" episode "Samurai"). His first leading role was the 1949 film "Border Incident", with actor George Murphy. During the 1950s and 1960s he was one of only a few actively working Hispanic actors.

Many of his early roles were in Westerns in which he played character parts, usually as an "Indian" or as a "Latin Lover". In 1950, he was cast against type, playing a Cape Cod police officer in the film "Mystery Street". In 1957, he played Nakamura in the Oscar-winning film "Sayonara".

From 1957 to 1959 he starred in the Broadway musical "Jamaica", singing several light-hearted calypso numbers opposite Lena Horne.

In 1975, he was chosen as the television spokesman for the new "Chrysler Cordoba". The car became a successful model, and over the following several years, was heavily advertised; his mellifluous delivery of a line praising its "soft Corinthian leather" upholstery, often misquoted as "rich Corinthian leather", became famous and was much parodied, and Montalban subsequently became a favorite subject of impersonators. Eugene Levy, for example, frequently impersonated him on "SCTV". In 1986, he was featured in a magazine advertisement for the new Chrysler New Yorker.

Montalbán's best-known television role was that of Mr. Roarke in the television series "Fantasy Island", which he played from 1978 until 1984. For a while, the series was one of the most popular on television, and his character as well as that of his sidekick, Tattoo (played by Hervé Villechaize), became pop icons. Another well known role was that of Khan Noonien Singh in ', which was a reprisal of his role in the 1967 episode of ' entitled "Space Seed". There were some questions initially as to whether Montalbán had prosthetic muscles applied to his chest during filming of "" to make him appear more muscular, on account of his being over 60 years old at the time. Montalbán and others associated with the production of "Star Trek II" have disputed this, most notably Leonard Nimoy in his book "I Am Spock", citing the fact that he was always physically active and worked out regularly, and those really were his muscles.

Montalbán has appeared in many diverse films including "The Naked Gun" as well as two films from both the "Planet of the Apes" and "Spy Kids" series. In addition, he has appeared in multiple musicals, such as 1966's "The Singing Nun", also starring Debbie Reynolds. Over the course of his long career, he has played lead roles or guest starred in dozens of television series. Since 1993, Montalbán has had to use a wheelchair after a long-unresolved spinal injury from the 1951 film "Across the Wide Missouri" recurred.

In several interviews and public speeches, Montalbán has described "the five stages of the actor", which are as follows:
# Who is Ricardo Montalbán?
# Get me Ricardo Montalbán.
# Get me a Ricardo Montalbán type.
# Get me a young Ricardo Montalbán.
# Who is Ricardo Montalbán?

Taco Bell

Montalbán did a voiceover for a Taco Bell commercial that aired in 2007 during Super Bowl XLI. In the commercial, one lion suggests to another to roll his "R"s in a manner that is "sexy, like Ricardo Montalbán" while pronouncing "carne asada". This segues to a voiceover featuring the actor.


* "Five Were Chosen" (1942) (a Spanish version was filmed the following year)
* "The Twig of Seville" (1942)
* "The Reason of the Fault" (1943)
* "Santa" (1943)
* "Flight" (1944)
* "Cadets of the Navy" (1945)
* "We" (1945)
* "The Hour of Truth" (1945)
* "The House of the Fox" (1945)
* "Pepita Jiménez" (1946)
* "Ranch Fantasy" (1947)
* "Fiesta" (1947)
* "On an Island with You" (1948)
* "The Kissing Bandit" (1948)
* "Neptune's Daughter" (1949)
* "Border Incident" (1949)
* "Battleground" (1949)
* "Mystery Street" (1950)
* "Right Cross" (1950)
* "Two Weeks with Love" (1950)
* "Mark of the Renegade" (1951)
* "Across the Wide Missouri" (1951)
* "The Million Dollar Nickel" (1952) (short subject)
* "My Man and I" (1952)
* "Sombrero" (1953)
* "Latin Lovers" (1953)
* "The Saracen Blade" (1954)
* "Untouched" (1954)
* "A Life in the Balance" (1955)
* "The Queen of Babylon" (1955)
* "Three for Jamie Dawn" (1956)
* "Desert Warrior" (1957)
* "Sayonara" (1957)
* "Let No Man Write My Epitaph" (1960)
* "Rage of the Buccaneers" (1961)
* "Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man" (1962)
* "The Reluctant Saint" (1962)
* "Love Is a Ball" (1963)
* "Cheyenne Autumn" (1964)
* "Good Night, New Year" (1964)
* "The Money Trap" (1965)
* "The Singing Nun" (1966)
* "Madame X" (1966)
* "Sol Madrid" (1968)
* "Blue" (1968)
* "Sweet Charity" (1969)
* "The Deserter" (1971)
* "Escape from the Planet of the Apes" (1971)
* "Sentinels of Silence" (1971) (short subject)
* "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" (1972)
* "The Train Robbers" (1973)
* "Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood" (1976)
* "Joe Panther" (1976)
* "Mission to Glory: A True Story" (1977)
* "" (1982)
* "Cannonball Run II" (1984)
* "" (1988)
* "" (2002)
* "" (2003)
* "The Ant Bully" (2006) (voice)


* "Operation Cicero" (1956)
* "Rashomon" (1960)
* "Bonanza" (1960)
* "Hamlet" (1961) (voice dubber in English version)
* "Alice Through the Looking Glass" (1966)
* "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." (The Dove Affair) (1964)
* "" (Space Seed) (1967)
* "Code Name: Heraclitus" (1967)
* "The Longest Hundred Miles" (1967)
* "Samurai" Hawaii Five-O, 1st Season, Guest Star (1968)
* "Fade-In" (1968)
* "The Pigeon" (1969)
* "The Desperate Mission" (1969)
* "Black Water Gold" (1970)
* "The Aquarians" (1970) (unsold pilot)
* "Sarge" (1971)
* "Fireball Forward" (1972)
* "Wonder Woman" (1974) (unsold pilot)
* "The Mark of Zorro" (1974)
* "McNaughton's Daughter" (1976)
* "Executive Suite" (1976-1977)
* "Fantasy Island" (1977) (pilot for series)
* "Captains Courageous" (1977)
* "Return to Fantasy Island" (1978) (2nd pilot for series)
* "Fantasy Island" (1978 – 1984)
* "How the West Was Won" (1978) (miniseries)
* "The Colbys" (1985 – 1987)
* "Heaven Help Us" (1994) (canceled after 13 episodes)
* "Freakazoid" (1995 – 1997) (voice)
* "Kim Possible" (2002-present) (voice)
* "Dora the Explorer: The Missing Piece " (2004) (Wizard voice)
* Family Guy - voice actor for the genetically modified cow in McStroke

Broadway musical

* "Jamaica" (1957–1959)


External links

* [http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=%22archive+of+american+television+interview+with+ricardo+montalban%22 Archive of American Television interview with Ricardo Montalbán on August 13, 2002]
* [http://www.georgiabulletin.org/world/2003/10/23/PEOPLE-4 Catholics in Media Associates Lifetime Achievement Award]

NAME= Montalbán, Ricardo
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Merino, Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán
DATE OF BIRTH= 1920-11-25
PLACE OF BIRTH= Mexico City, Mexico

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