Tuesday, January 20, 2009

In Memoriam: Ricardo Montalban


Ricardo Montalban passed away January 14th. He was 88 years old. Montalban's career spanned 6 decades of movies, theater, and television. Best known as Mr. Roarke on ABC's "Fantasy Island",
Every week on “Fantasy Island,” a fairy tale of wish fulfillment and exotic luxury that was shown on ABC from 1978 to 1984, a planeload of visitors with unachieved dreams flew in to a remote resort somewhere in the Pacific and were greeted by their dream facilitators, the sleek and suavely welcoming Mr. Roarke, played by Mr. Montalbán, and his assistant, an irrepressibly spirited dwarf named Tattoo, played by HervĂ© Villechaize.
I will always remember his big screen performance as Khan in Star Trek II:The Wrath of Khan.

Aside from his acting career, Montalban was also active helping to find meaningful roles for Latino actors.
Although Montalban expressed appreciation for his success, he complained that Hollywood lacked respect for Mexican American actors. He said that while under contract at MGM, he portrayed Cubans, Brazilians and Argentines, but almost never Mexicans.

"Mexican is not a nice-sounding word and Hollywood is at fault for this because we have been portrayed in this ungodly manner," he said. He challenged Hollywood to stop stereotyping Latin actors by casting them only as prostitutes, maids, gang-bangers and bandidos.

Through Nosotros -- "we" in Spanish -- Montalban attempted to highlight and recognize Latino participation in the arts and entertainment. In 1970, the foundation created the Golden Eagle Awards, which annually honors Latino stars, shows and movies.
Sources close to Montalban say he was a spiritual man. He is survived by two daughters, two sons, and six grandchildren.
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1 comment:

coffee said...

Dos Equis should have hired Ricardo Montalban to do a few ads for them, he could have done their "most interesting man in the world" bit perfectly (and he has a Spanish accent)