Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Ricardo Montalban dies at 88.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Ricardo Montalban, the Mexican-born actor who became a star in splashy MGM musicals and later as the wish-fulfilling Mr. Roarke in TV's "Fantasy Island," died Wednesday morning at his home.
Montalban had been a star in Mexican movies when MGM brought him to Hollywood in 1946. He was cast in the leading role opposite Esther Williams in "Fiesta." He also starred with the swimming beauty in "On an Island With You" and "Neptune's Daughter."
A later generation knew Montalban as the faintly mysterious, white-suited Mr. Roarke, who presided over an island resort where visitors were able to fulfill their lifelong dreams. "Fantasy Island" received high ratings for most of its 1978-1984 span on ABC television and still appears in reruns.
In a 1978 interview, he analyzed the series' success:
"What is appealing is the idea of attaining the unattainable and learning from it. Once you obtain a fantasy it becomes a reality, and that reality is not as exciting as your fantasy. Through the fantasies you learn to appreciate your own realities."
My 2 cents...
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Montalban when a friend of mine and I snuck onto the Paramount Studios lot (its a long story) and we were able to get onto the Star Trek 2 The Wrath of Khan set... He made quite an imposing figure as KHAN the arch nemesis of James T. Kirk. He was as nice a person as I have ever met, and seemed from the few scenes I was able to see filmed, he was such a professional... My kids know him as Grandpa Cortez from the SPY KIDS movies.
He will be missed!