Ricardo Montalbán: 1920-2009
Rest in peace, Mr. Montalbán.
Ricardo Montalbán, the actor best-known for his appearance as the mysterious Mr. Roarke in Aaron Spelling's long-running Fantasy Island, has passed away. He was 88.
Born in Mexico City in 1920, Montalbán found it difficult to find roles that reflected his heritage -- or his talent -- and was often relegated to bit parts for characters of indeterminate ethnic origin. He showed a remarkable ability to adapt, however, and found work wherever he could, eventually acquiring leading-man status in such films as 1949's Border Incident.
In the mid-1970s, Montalbán's appearance in the play Don Juan in Hell led to his becoming the national spokesperson for Chrysler's new car, the Cordoba (and a series of widely parodied commercials in which he praised the car's "rich Corinthian leather"). It was in 1978 that he took on his most iconic role, portraying Mr. Roarke on Fantasy Island every week until the series' cancellation in 1984.
Though best-known for Fantasy Island, Montalbán acted in a large number of films, most notably as the villainous Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. (For a look at Montalbán's entire filmography, just click here.)
Montalbán passed away in his Los Angeles home. No cause of death has been announced. To read more about his life and career, follow the link below.