Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ricardo Montalban: 1920-2009

Ricardo Montalban, the dashing movie star of the 1940's and 50's who found even greater fame later in his career as the mysterious Mr. Rourke and the wrathful Khan Noonien Singh, passed away today at the age of 88.

Hollywood's "Latin Lover", Montalban was known for his suave demeanor and exotic looks in such light comedies as On an Island with You and Neptune's Daughter (both with Esther Williams). However, he had his fair share of dramatic roles as well, such as in Battleground and Sayonara. Other notable films he appeared in include Cheyenne Autumn, The Singing Nun, Sweet Charity, Escape from and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, The Naked Gun and two of the Spy Kids movies.

Montalban was a prolific guest star on television throughout the 60's and 70's, but is most remembered from this time period for two roles in particular, that of Mr. Rourke on Fantasy Island and as the spokesperson for the Chrysler Cordoba (and its "rich Corinthian leather"). He also won an Emmy Award for his performance in the mini-series How the West Was Won and co-starred on the Dynasty spin-off The Colbys. In 1994, Montalban received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.

But it was a one-shot appearance on the classic sci-fi series Star Trek that led to Montalban's most acclaimed performance when he reprised his role as the vengeful Khan in the second Trek movie, The Wrath of Khan. His surprisingly buff physique (which was real) and impassioned Shakespearean rants made him inarguably the greatest villain in Star Trek history.

UPDATE: Turner Classic Movies will pay tribute to Ricardo Montalban with a seven film retrospective of his work on January 23.

2 comments:

  1. Ihave to say I was in love with this Man when I was young. Very HOT and talented. He will be missed.
    Ray

    ReplyDelete
  2. in retrospect, i think Dos Equis should have hired Ricardo Montalban to do a few ads for them as their "most interesting man in the world" (he has a Spanish accent too, which fits perfectly)

    ReplyDelete

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