Friday, January 21, 2011

Ricardo Montalban who played Mr. Rourke on Fantasy Island and Khan on Star Trek

Ricardo Montalban was born Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán y Merino in November, 1920 in Mexico City, Mexico.  He is probably best known as Mr. Rourke on the TV show "Fantasy Island" co-starring Hervé Villechaize as Tatoo. He is also famous for playing the role of Khan in both the original Star Trek TV series and the film "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan".  Montalban was one of the very first successful Latin actors in Hollywood. 

Ricardo Montalban as Mr. Rourke on the TV show  "Fantasy Island"


In 1941, Montalban began his acting career doing short musicals "Soundies" film jukeboxes. 

He became a huge film star in Mexico after retrning there for a few years.  He starred in such films as "Five Were Chosen" co-starring Victor Kilian, Howard Da Silva, Rosa Harvan Kline, and Leonid Kinskey (1942); "The Three Musketeers" aka "Los tres mosqueteros" co-starring Cantinflas, Ángel Garasa and Janet Alcoriza (1942); "El verdugo de Sevilla" (1942); "La razón de la culpa" (1943); "Santa" (1943); and "Cinco fueron escogidos" (1943).

When returned to Hollywood in 1943, ironically the production companies insisted he change his name to Ricky Martin. He refused of course, fortunately for the younger Latin star that would come along, Ricky Martin who was part of Menudo.  And fortunately for Montalban, because his name certainly did not seem to harm his success over seven decades that would follow.

Montalban went on to star in "La fuga" co-starring Esther Fernández and Carlos Orellana (1944); "Cadetes de la naval" (1945); "Nosotros" (1945); "The Hour of Truth" aka "La hora de la verdad" co-starring Virginia Serret and Lilia Michel (1945); "The House of the Fox" aka "La casa de la zorra" co-starring Luis Aceves Castañeda, Roberto Cañedo and Roberto Corell (1945); "Pepita Jiménez" with Rosita Díaz Gimeno and Fortunio Bonanova (1946); and "Fantasía ranchera" co-starring Manolita Saval and Pedro Vargas (1947).

Ricardo Montalban in the film "Fiesta" 1947
Ricardo Montalban and Cyd Charisse in "Fiesta" 1947

Ricardo rounded out the 40s with some English musical titles such as "Fiesta" co-starring Esther Williams, Akim Tamiroff, Mary Astor, and Cyd Charisse (1947); "On an Island with You" co-starring Esther Williams, Peter Lawford, Jimmy Durante, and Cyd Charisse (1948); "The Kissing Bandit" co-starring Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, J. Carrol Naish, Ann Miller, and Cyd Charisse (1948); and "Neptune's Daughter" co-starring Esther Williams, Red Skelton, Betty Garrett, Keenan Wynn, and Mel Blanc of Bugs Bunny fame (1949).  

Ricardo Montalban and Esther Williams  in the film "On an Island with You" 1948

Ricardo Montalban and Esther Williams star in "On an Island with You" 1948

Ricardo Montalban and Ester Williams in "Neptune's Daughter" 1949

Montalban would jump back into mainstream film with the lead role in "Border Incident" co-starring George Murphy and Howard Da Silva (1949); and "Battleground" co-starring Van Johnson and John Hodiak (1949).


Montalban started off the '50s with "Mystery Street" co-starring Sally Forrest and Bruce Bennett (1950); "Right Cross" co-starring June Allyson, Dick Powell, and Lionel Barrymore (1950); "Two Weeks with Love" co-starring Jane Powell, Louis Calhern, and Debbie Reynolds (1950); "Mark of the Renegade" co-starring Cyd Charisse and J. Carrol Naish (1951); "Across the Wide Missouri" with Clark Gable, John Hodiak, Adolphe Menjou, and Richard Anderson (1951); "My Man and I" co-starring Shelley Winters, Claire Trevor, Wendell Corey, and Jack Elam (1952); "Sombrero" with Pier Angeli, Yvonne De Carlo, Cyd Charisse, and Vittorio Gassman (1953); "Latin Lovers" co-starring Lana Turner, John Lund, and Rita Moreno (1953); "The Saracen Blade" co-starring Betta St. John and Rick Jason (1954); "Untouched" aka "Sombra verde" co-starring Ariadna Welter and Víctor Parra (1954); "The Queen of Babylon" aka "Cortigiana di Babilonia" co-starring Rhonda Fleming and Roldano Lupi (1954); and "A Life in the Balance" with Anne Bancroft, Lee Marvin, and José Pérez (1955).

Ricardo Montalban and Cyd Charisse

Ricardo Montalban  in "Queen of Babylon" 1954

Ricardo finished out the '50s starring in his first television series "The Ford Television Theatre" (1955) and 9 episodes of "The Loretta Young Show" until 1961. He co-starred with Loretta Young, John Milton Kennedy and Robert Foulk; he also made appearances in theater shows such as "Chevron Hall of Stars" (1956) and "G.E. True Theater" (1956);  He continued on starring in "Three for Jamie Dawn" co-starring Laraine Day, Richard Carlson, and June Havoc (1956); "Climax!" starring William Lundigan, Harry Townes and Michael Rennie (2 episodes, 1955-56); "Wagon Train" starring Frank McGrath, Terry Wilson and Robert Horton (1957); "Desert Warrior" aka "Los amantes del desierto" co-starring Carmen Sevilla and Gino Cervi (1957); "Sayonara" co-starring Marlon Brando, Patricia Owens, Red Buttons, Miyoshi Umeki, and James Garner (1957);

During the mid to late '50s, Montalban performed both off and on Broadway in shows such as "Can-Can", "South Pacific", "Seventh Heaven", and "Don Juan in Hell".  In 1957 Montalban starred in the Broadway musical "Jamaica" with Lena Horne for which he would be nominated for a Tony award.  His run in this musical lasted until 1959.  That same year he appeared in the show "Riverboat" starring Darren McGavin, Dick Wessel, Burt Reynolds, Michael McGreevey, Jack Lambert, and Noah Beery Jr.  He also appeared in "Adventures in Paradise" starring Gardner McKay, James Holden and Guy Stockwell in 1959.

Ricardo Montalban then


Montalban appeared in the show "Startime" starring Dean Martin, Marian Anderson and Alice Backes; "Death Valley Days" starring Robert Taylor, Stanley Andrews, Don Haggerty, Jim Davis, and Ronald Reagan; "Bonanza" starring Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Pernell Roberts, and Dan Blocker; "Let No Man Write My Epitaph" co-starring Burl Ives, Shelley Winters, Jean Seberg, and James Darren; "Rashomon" co-starring Osceola Archer, James Mitchell, Michael Higgins, Carol Lawrence, and Oskar Homolka; "The Christophers" Jack Haley, Gigi Perreau, Dean Jagger, Barbara Stanwyck, and James Cagney;


Ricardo starred in "Hamlet" with Maximilian Schell, Hans Caninenberg and Wanda Rotha; "The Chevy Show"; "The Dinah Shore Chevy Show" starring Dinah Shore, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Shirley MacLaine, Edie Adams, Art Carney, and Janet Blair; he appeared as Ramon Castillo in "Zorro" starring Guy Williams, Gene Sheldon and Henry Calvin; "The Loretta Young Show"; "The Untouchables" starring Robert Stack, Walter Winchell and Nicholas Georgiade; "Checkmate" starring Doug McClure, Sebastian Cabot and Anthony George; and "Rage of the Buccaneers" aka "Gordon, il pirata nero" co-starring Vincent Price and Giulia Rubini.

Ricardo Montalban as Ramon Castillo in "Zorro" 1961


Montalban appeared in "Cain's Hundred" starring Peter Mark Richman, Gavin MacLeod, and Ted de Corsia; "Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man" co-starring Richard Beymer, Diane Baker, Corinne Calvet, Paul Newman, Jessica Tandy, and Susan Strasberg; "The Lloyd Bridges Show" starring Lloyd Bridges, Jeff Bridges and Dub Taylor; and "The Reluctant Saint" co-starring Maximilian Schell and Lea Padovani;


Ricardo appeared in "Alcoa Premiere" with Fred Astaire, Keir Dullea and Paul Comi; "The Dick Powell Theatre" starring Dick Powell, David Niven and June Allyson; "Love Is a Ball" co-starring Glenn Ford, Hope Lange, Charles Boyer, and Telly Savalas; "Ben Casey" starring Vince Edwards, Sam Jaffe and Franchot Tone; and "The Greatest Show on Earth" starring Jack Palance, Stuart Erwin and Michael Consoldane.

Ricardo Montalban circa 1960s


Montalban guest starred in "The Lieutenant" starring Gary Lockwood, Robert Vaughn and John Milford; 3 episodes of "The Great Adventure" starring Eddie Little Sky, Kent Smith and Van Heflin; "Cheyenne Autumn" starring Richard Widmark, Carroll Baker, Karl Malden, Dolores del Rio, Arthur Kennedy, and John Carradine; "Slattery's People" co-starring Richard Crenna, Robert Stevenson and Tol Avery; "The Defenders" starring E.G. Marshall, Robert Reed and Ossie Davis; "Buenas noches, año nuevo"; "The Rogues" starring Robert Coote, Gladys Cooper, David Niven, and Charles Boyer; and "Burke's Law" starring Gene Barry, Gary Conway and Regis Toomey.


Montalban starred in the film "The Money Trap" with Glenn Ford, Elke Sommer, Joseph Cotten, James Mitchum, Argentina Brunetti, and Rita Hayworth; and in the TV show "Burke's Law" in an additional episode.


Ricardo appeared in "Insight" starring Ellwood Kieser, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Brian Keith; 4 episodes of "Dr. Kildare" as Damon West which also starred Richard Chamberlain, Raymond Massey and Leslie Nielsen; "Madame X" starring Lana Turner, John Forsythe, and Burgess Meredith; "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." starring Robert Vaughn, David McCallum and Leo G. Carroll; the film "The Singing Nun" co-starring Debbie Reynolds, Agnes Moorehead, Katharine Ross, Greer Garson, Chad Everett, Juanita Moore, and Ed Sullivan; "The Long, Hot Summer" starring Roy Thinnes, Nancy Malone, Lana Wood, and Paul Geary; "Alice Through the Looking Glass" co-starring Judi Rolin, Roy Castle, Jimmy Durante, Nanette Fabray, Agnes Moorehead, Jack Palance, Tom Smothers, Dick Smothers and Robert Coote; "Daniel Boone" starring Fess Parker, Patricia Blair, Ed Ames, and Darby Hinton; and "The Wild Wild West" starring Robert Conrad, Ross Martin and Dick Cangey.

Ricardo Montalban and wife Georgiana Young in 1966


Montalban starred in "Code Name: Heraclitus" with Stanley Baker, Leslie Nielsen, Sheree North, and Jack Weston; "Combat!" starring Vic Morrow, Rick Jason and Pierre Jalbert; "The Longest Hundred Miles" co-starring Doug McClure, Katharine Ross, Ronald Remy, and Helen Thompson; "Star Trek" starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, and Majel Barrett; "Mission: Impossible" starring Peter Graves, Barbara Bain, Martin Landau, Greg Morris, and Peter Lupus; "I Spy" starring Robert Culp, Bill Cosby and Kenneth Tobey; and "Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre".

Ricardo Montalban as Khan in the very first season of the TV show Star Trek in 1967


Ricardo appeared in "The Danny Thomas Hour" starring Danny Thomas, Van Johnson and Hans Conried; "Sol Madrid" co-starring David McCallum, Stella Stevens, Pat Hingle, Rip Torn, and Telly Savalas; "Blue" co-starring Terence Stamp, Joanna Pettet, Sally Kirkland, Robert Lipton, and Karl Malden; "Felony Squad" starring Howard Duff, Vince Howard and Ross Elliott; "Ironside" starring Raymond Burr, Don Galloway, Barbara Anderson, Elizabeth Baur, and Don Mitchell; "It Takes a Thief" starring Robert Wagner, Fred Astaire, and Malachi Throne; and "The High Chaparral" starring Leif Erickson, Cameron Mitchell and Henry Darrow;


Montalban starred in the film "Sweet Charity" with Shirley MacLaine, John McMartin, Chita Rivera, Sammy Davis Jr., and Ben Vereen;  "The Pigeon" co-starring Sammy Davis Jr., Dorothy Malone, Victoria Vetri, and Patsy Kelly; and "The Desperate Mission" co-starring Slim Pickens, Earl Holliman, and Roosevelt Grier.


Montalban starred in "Black Water Gold" with Keir Dullea, Bradford Dillman, Lana Wood, and France Nuyen; "The Name of the Game" starring Gene Barry, Robert Stack, Anthony Franciosa, and Susan Saint James; "Gunsmoke" starring James Arness, Milburn Stone, Ken Curtis, and Amanda Blake; "Dan August" starring Burt Reynolds, Norman Fell and Ned Romero; "The Aquarians" co-starring José Ferrer, Leslie Nielsen, and Katherine Woodville; "Bracken's World" starring Elizabeth Allen, Peter Haskell, Linda Harrison, and Laraine Stephens; "Marcus Welby, M.D." starring Robert Young, James Brolin and Elena Verdugo; and "The Virginian" starring James Drury, Doug McClure, Sara Lane, and Lee J. Cobb.


Ricardo appeared in "Sarge" starring George Kennedy, Ramon Bieri and Sallie Shockley; "The Deserter" co-starring Bekim Fehmiu, Richard Crenna, Chuck Connors, and Slim Pickens; "Escape from the Planet of the Apes" co-starring Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Bradford Dillman, and Eric Braeden; "Nichols" starring James Garner, Margot Kidder, John Beck, and Neva Patterson; and "The Face of Fear" starring Jack Warden, Elizabeth Ashley, and Dane Clark;

Ricoardo Montalban circa early 1970s


Montalban appeared in "O'Hara, U.S. Treasury" co-starring David Janssen, Paul Picerni and Larry Pennell; "Fireball Forward" co-starring Ben Gazzara, Anne Francis, Eddie Albert, and Richard Yniguez; "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" co-starring Roddy McDowall, Don Murray, Natalie Trundy, John Randolph, Asa Maynor, and Gordon Jump; "Hawaii Five-O" starring Jack Lord, James MacArthur Kam Fong, and Zulu; and "Here's Lucy" starring Lucille Ball, Gale Gordon and Lucie Arnaz.

Ricardo Montalban in "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" 1972


Ricardo starred in "The Train Robbers" with John Wayne, Ann-Margret, Bobby Vinton, Ben Johnson, and Rod Taylor; and "Griff" starring Lorne Greene, Vic Tayback and Ben Murphy;


Ricardo appeared in the film "Wonder Woman" starring Cathy Lee Crosby, Kaz Garas and Andrew Prine; and "The Mark of Zorro" co-starring Frank Langella, Gilbert Roland, Louise Sorel, Anne Archer, and Yvonne De Carlo.

Ricardo Montalban in "The Mask of Zorro" 1974


Montalban appeared in the TV show "Switch" starring Robert Wagner, Eddie Albert, Sharon Gless, and Charlie Callas; Also in 1975, he was chosen as the television spokesman for the new Chrysler Cordoba and became very well known household name from the commercials.

Ricardo Montalban was famous in the mid-1970s for his Chrysler Cordoba ads and commercials


Montalban appeared in "Columbo" starring Peter Falk, John Finnegan and Mike Lally; "McNaughton's Daughter" co-starring Susan Clark, James T. Callahan, Vera Miles, Tina Andrews, and Mike Farrell; "Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood" co-starring Dennis Morgan, Shecky Greene, Madeline Kahn, Bruce Dern, Art Carney, Teri Garr, and Phil Leeds; "Joe Panther" co-starring Brian Keith, Alan Feinstein, Ray Tracey, and A Martinez; and Ricardo landed a recurring role as David Valerio in the series "Executive Suite" co-starring Mitch Ryan, Sharon Acker, Wendy Phillips, and Leigh McCloskey;


It was in '77 that Montalban landed the role of Mr. Roarke in the TV show "Fantasy Island" co-starring Hervé Villechaize (Tatoo) and a whole host of well known guest stars that would appear on the show every week to live their fantasies.  Montalban would play the role for the entire run of the show until 1984 when the show came to an end.

Ricardo Montalban (Mr. Roarke) and Hervé Villechaize (Tatoo) of the TV show "Fantasy Island"

During his run on "Fantasy Island", Montalban would appear in "Police Story" starring Scott Brady, Joe Santos, Dane Clark, Shelly Novack, and Don Meredith (1977); "Mission to Glory: A True Story" co-starring Richard Egan, Cesar Romero, Joseph Campanella, and John Ireland (1977); and "Captains Courageous" co-starring Karl Malden, Jonathan Kahn, Fred Gwynne, and Johnny Doran (1977); the mini-series "How the West Was Won" co-starring James Arness, Fionnula Flanagan, Kathryn Holcomb, and Bruce Boxleitner; and "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" co-starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, DeForest Kelley, and Kirstie Alley (1982).

Ricardo Montalban revived his old "Star Trek" role Khan for "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" in 1982
Ricardo Montalban

Montalban would go on to star in "Cannonball Run II" which included among many: Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Jamie Farr, Marilu Henner, Telly Savalas, Shirley MacLaine, Susan Anton, Catherine Bach, Foster Brooks, Sid Caesar, Jackie Chan, Tim Conway, Tony Danza, Jack Elam, Richard Kiel, Don Knotts, Jim Nabors, Charles Nelson Reilly, Frank Sinatra, Joe Theismann, Mel Tillis, Abe Vigoda, Fred Dryer, Arte Johnson, and Cheech Marin.

Ricardo Montalban (Mr. Roarke) and Hervé Villechaize (Tatoo) of the TV show "Fantasy Island"

After "Fantasy Island" in 1985 Ricardo would land another series role as Zach Powers in "The Colbys" which was a spin-off of the night time drama "Dynasty" on which Ricardo also played the role for 2 episodes in 1986. Montalban co-starred with Charlton Heston (Jason), John James (Jeff), Emma Samms (Fallon), Stephanie Beacham (Sable), Katharine Ross (Francesca), Claire Yarlett (Bliss), Maxwell Caulfield (Miles), and Barbara Stanwyck (Constance).

Ricardo Montalban in his later years

Montalban would go on to star in "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!" co-starring Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, George Kennedy, Nancy Marchand, and Susan Beaubian (1988); "B.L. Stryker" starring Burt Reynolds, Dana Kaminski and Ossie Davis; "Murder, She Wrote" starring Angela Lansbury, William Windom and Ron Masak; "Dream On" starring Brian Benben, Denny Dillon and Wendie Malick (1991); and "The Golden Palace" which was as spin-off of "The Golden Girls" and starred Betty White, Rue McClanahan, Estelle Getty, Don Cheadle, and Cheech Marin.

In 1993, surgery on his spinal column would pretty much limit Montalban to a wheel chair or walker most of the time for his remaining years.

Ricardo Montalban after his back surgery was confined to a wheel chair for most of the remainder of his life

In 1994 Ricardo would play the role of Mr. Shepherd in "Heaven Help Us" co-starring John Schneider, Melinda Clarke and Kimberly Ross.  He would then use his voice talents as Armondo Guitierrez on the animated show "Freakazoid!" until 1997. Montalban would go on to appear in "Chicago Hope" starring Mandy Patinkin, Adam Arkin, Hector Elizondo, Jayne Brook, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Christine Lahti, and Mark Harmon (1997); voice in the series "Casper" starring Malachi Pearson, Joe Alaskey and Dan Castellaneta (1998); and "Love Boat: The Next Wave" starring Robert Urich, Phil Morris, Joan Severance, and Randy Vasquez (1998).

Ricardo Montalban later in his life

Montalban would start the new millennium doing voice work in "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command" (2000); "Titans" starring Casper Van Dien, Yasmine Bleeth, Josie Davis, Elizabeth Bogush, John Barrowman, Victoria Principal, Lourdes Benedicto, and Jack Wagner; voice of El Encantador in "Dora the Explorer" (2002) as well as "Kim Possible" over several years; "Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams" co-starring Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Daryl Sabara, Steve Buscemi, Antonio Banderas, Cheech Marin, Emily Osment, and Holland Taylor (2002); "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over" co-starring Daryl Sabara, Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Holland Taylor, Sylvester Stallone, Salma Hayek, Emily Osment, and Antonio Banderas (2003); and "The Brothers Garcia" starring Alvin Alvarez, Vaneza Leza Pitynski and Bobby Gonzalez (2003);

A few years later in 2006 Montalban would lend his voice to "The Ant Bully" and again in 2008 in "Family Guy".  Ricardo would make in last acting appearance in voice in the series "American Dad!" in 2009.  Ricard Montalban passed away in his Hollywood home on January 14, 2009 at the age of 88 years.  He will be well remembered as a Hollywood legend.

Ricardo Montalban in his later years


  1. Ana Cláudia MarquesNovember 11, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    He'll always be missed and remembered. Let's not forget he also voiced Señor Senior Sr. in 'Kim Possible' (2003-2004).

  2. One of best actors really liked him on fantasy island. He will always be remembered as well by all star trek fans has khan. Rest in peace thanks for all the great memories.

  3. I always had the biggest crush on Mr. Roarke! What a Gorgeous man!! :)