Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ricardo Montalban, 1920-2009. R.I.P.

Actor Ricardo Montalban died today. His death was announced at a Los Angeles City Council meeting. The cause of death is unknown. Montalban was 88.

The Mexican born Montalban is best known for starring as Mr. Roarke on the ABC TV series Fantasy Island which ran from 1978 to 1984.

He is also remembered for his portrayal of Khan Noonien Singh in a 1967 episode of Star Trek. He would reprise this role in the 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. He was also cast as a villian in The Naked Gun starring Leslie Nielsen.

Montalban's distinctive voice led him to do Chrysler commercials in which he spoke of "soft Corinthian leather."

A spinal injury kept him largely confined to a wheelchair in recent years although he did occasionally land a role. Younger fans might remember Montalban in two of the Spy Kids movies from earlier in the decade. His last acting credit was supplying his voice to the 2006 computer animated movie Ant Bully.

Montalban was married for 63 years until his wife, Georgiana Young de Montalban, died in November 2007.

I'm sure there is a welcoming committee at the pearly gates raising a glass.

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