Ricardo Montalban


Actor
Ricardo Montalban

About

Also Known As
Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán Y Merino
Birth Place
Mexico City, Mexico
Born
November 25, 1920
Died
January 14, 2009

Biography

Handsome, erudite and blessed with an exceptionally rich, sonorous voice, Ricardo Montalbán made the transition from supporting character actor to lead player with a pair of iconic roles, as diverse as they were memorable. Working within the studio system of the 1940s and ‘50s, the Latino actor was initially cast as whatever ethnicity was needed for a role, most often as a Latin Lover in...

Photos & Videos

A Date with Judy - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Neptune's Daughter - Publicity Stills
Latin Lovers - Publicity Stills

Family & Companions

Georgiana Young
Wife
Actor. Married October 26, 1944; youngest sister of Loretta Young.

Bibliography

"Reflections: A Life in Two Worlds"
Ricardo Montalban and Bob Thomas (1991)

Notes

There is a rich source of untapped material [stories about Latin Americans] but Hollywood has never made any attempt to scratch the surface....I always hoped that for an actor the only barrier would be the limit of his own talent."--Ricardo Montalban ("TV Time," July 13, 1991)

"Hollywood killed my dreams. I had dreamt of being a working actor, of choosing roles that had essence. In the roles I had, you had to have your head in place and keep your shoes shined. I did it because that's what was offered me. I wish I had the luxury of choosing between 15 scripts. I had to decide to do one script--usually bad--or not work."--Ricardo Montalban ("TV Time," July 13, 1991)

Biography

Handsome, erudite and blessed with an exceptionally rich, sonorous voice, Ricardo Montalbán made the transition from supporting character actor to lead player with a pair of iconic roles, as diverse as they were memorable. Working within the studio system of the 1940s and ‘50s, the Latino actor was initially cast as whatever ethnicity was needed for a role, most often as a Latin Lover in films like "Fiesta" (1947), but also as a Native-American in "Across the Wide Missouri" (1951) or an Asian, as in "Sayonara" (1957). A Tony-nominated turn on Broadway opposite Lena Horne in the 1957 production of "Jamaica" earned him the respect of his peers, although not the leading roles he sought. Montalbán kept busy with dozens of guest turns throughout the 1960s on such programs as "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." (NBC, 1964-68), "The Wild, Wild West" (CBS, 1965-69) and most memorably, in an episode of "Star Trek" (NBC, 1966-69). At last, the veteran actor became a household name as the enigmatic Mr. Roarke, host of "Fantasy Island" (ABC, 1977-1984), then eclipsed that fame with his reprisal of Captain Kirk’s titular nemesis in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" (1982). He continued to work ceaselessly on various TV shows and films, even performing from a wheelchair in "Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams" (2002), after being paralyzed from the waist down. Remembered as a man of integrity and perseverance, Montalbán earned the loyalty of his contemporaries, as well as generations of fans.

Montalbán was born on Nov. 20, 1920 in Mexico City, Mexico. As a teenager he moved to the United States at the behest of his elder brother Carlos Montalbán, where his poor English skills threatened to keep him out of Los Angeles high schools. Studying English for hours each day at downtown L.A.'s Belmont High School, he had improved enough to be accepted to the more esteemed Fairfax High School, where he started trying out for and winning parts in plays. It was at Fairfax where a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer executive first caught him on stage during a performance of "Tovarich." The exec was impressed enough to signing Montalbán to a contract with the then largest and most prestigious studio in town.

The young actor cut his teeth on a number of Spanish language films initially, but also began landing parts in MGM musicals set in exotic Latin locales before scoring his first starring role as Pablo Rodriguez in "Border Incident" in 1949. The studio – not sure what to do with the handsome, but obviously Hispanic-looking actor in those white-washed days – went on to appear in countless Westerns in the 1940s and 50s, playing everything from a bandito to a Native American. Along with fellow Latin lovers like Fernando Lamas, Montalbán filled in whatever ethnic niche he could in those limited days. Unfortunately, while working on one of his more prestigious pictures (starring the studio's biggest star, Clark Gable) "Across the Wide Missouri" (1951), the athletic actor suffered an injury to his spinal chord which, despite surgery to repair it, would go on to plague him even decades later.

After years of paying his onscreen eye-candy dues opposite such stars as Esther Williams, Cyd Charisse and Lana Turner in mindless films like "Neptune's Daughter" (1949), "Sombrero" (1953) and "Latin Lovers" (1953), Montalbán finally earned the industry's respect when he nabbed a Tony Award for his performance in the musical "Jamaica" in 1958. In the 1960s, like most former matinee idols pushing 40, Montalbán made dozens of guest star appearances on shows such as "The Untouchables" (CBS, 1959-1963), "Ben Casey" (ABC, 1961-66) and "The Lieutenant" (NBC, 1963-65). He played several characters on "Letter to Loretta" (NBC, 1953-1961) and held a recurring role as Damon West on the very popular medical drama, "Dr. Kildare" (NBC, 1961-66). Among these guest spots was a part which would secure him a place in film and sci-fi history – the evil Khan, on "Star Trek" (NBC, 1966-69). In the season one episode, entitled "Space Seed," Montalbán played a charismatic but dangerous genetic super-man from the 20th century, revived from suspended animation. With this brief TV appearance on a show few held out much hope for succeeding, the world would not see the last of Khan. Though no foreword-thinking executive – let alone Montalbán, himself – realized this at the time.

Montalbán continued with guest spots on "Gunsmoke" (CBS, 1955-75), "Marcus Welby" (ABC, 1969-1976), "The Virginian," (NBC, 1962-1971) "Hawaii-Five-O" (CBS, 1968-1980) and even "Here's Lucy" (CBS, 1968-1974). He returned to the sci-fi fold with what would have been another villainous leading role in an alternate "Wonder Woman" (ABC, 1974) TV movie, starring Cathy Lee Crosby. But thankfully for Lynda Carter fans, the pilot did not take off. He also played the leading role of David Valerio in the short-lived corporate drama, "Executive Suite" (CBS, 1976-77).

Following such extensive TV exposure, Montalbán was tapped by producer Aaron Spelling in 1977 to play the enigmatic Mr. Roarke on the producer's latest flight of fancy, "Fantasy Island." Clad in an immaculate white suit, with his sidekick Tattoo (Hervé "De Plane!" Villechaize), at his side each week, Montalbán introduced each episode's guests as they disembarked from the sea plane, hinting at their fantasy and what it might mean for their individual destinies. At first a 1977 television movie, the show took off like gangbusters, providing a perfect fantastical bookend to the show's Saturday night lead-in, Spelling's other big hit, "The Love Boat" (ABC, 1977-1986). In the midst of the fluffy "Fantasy Island" era, Montalbán was recognized with an Emmy Award for his performance as Satangkai in the epic miniseries, "How the West Was Won" in 1978.

In an unexpected move, Montalbán was approached by Paramount to reprise his mostly forgotten role of Khan from the "Star Trek" pilot for the much-anticipated feature film sequel, "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." Through his robust, red-blooded performance, Montalbán and his chiseled chest was introduced to a new generation of young sci-fi fans, who thrilled to the strategic maneuvering between Khan and William Shatner's Captain James T. Kirk. Others simply enjoyed watching both actors shamelessly chew the scenery. With his profile higher than ever, Montalbán went on to star on the "Dynasty" spin-off, "The Colbys" (ABC, 1985-87), where he played powerful patriarch Zach Powers. Showing a flair for comic timing, he went on to play the villain in the classic cop spoof, "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad," (1988) opposite Leslie Nielsen. At the same time, he had been the commercial spokesman for the Chrysler Cordoba, appearing in a long-running ad campaign hailing back to the 1970s, in which his smooth Latin accent added a romantic touch to his descriptions of "soft Corinthian leather" – commercials which had been widely parodied through the years. He left such an impression with his suggestive selling technique, that even 30 years later, Montalbán was still being sought for extensive voice over and commercial work.

In 1993, Montalbán was plagued by his long-time spinal cord injury, and was confined to a wheelchair much of the time. Aside from some guest shots on "Chicago Hope" (CBS, 1994-2000) and "Love Boat: The Next Wave" (UPN, 1998), he remained mostly active with voice work, providing voices for "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command," (The Disney Channel, 2000), "Kim Possible" (ABC/The Disney Channel, 2002- ) and the 2006 feature film, "The Ant Bully." He also appeared as the grandfather in the hugely successful live action kiddie film franchise, "Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams" (2002) and "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over" (2003). The good humored Montalbán continued to be a favorite at conventions and fan screenings, often garnering a standing ovation for his role as the malevolent mullet-wearing Khan, a role he often described as "Even when I'm not in the scene, they're talking about me." On Jan. 14, 2009, the 88-year-old actor passed away at his home in Los Angeles, with his daughter at his side.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

The Ant Bully (2006)
Spy Kids 3: Game Over (2003)
Grandfather
Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002)
That's Entertainment! III (1994)
MGM: When the Lion Roars (1992)
High Rise (1990)
Victor Constanza
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)
Cannonball Run II (1984)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Return to Fantasy Island (1978)
Kino, the Padre on Horseback (1977)
Fantasy Island (1977)
Roarke
Captains Courageous (1977)
McNaughton's Daughter (1976)
Joe Panther (1976)
Turtle George
Wonder Woman (1974)
The Mark of Zorro (1974)
The Train Robbers (1973)
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)
Armando
Fireball Forward (1972)
The Deserter (1971)
Natchai
Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)
Armando
La Spina Dorsale del Diavola (1971)
The Face Of Fear (1971)
Sergeant Frank Ortega
The Desperate Mission (1971)
Joaquin Murieta
Sweet Charity (1969)
Vittorio Vitale
Sol Madrid (1968)
Jalisco
Blue (1968)
Ortega
Madame X (1966)
Phil Benton
The Money Trap (1966)
Pete Delanos
The Singing Nun (1965)
Father Clementi
Cheyenne Autumn (1964)
Little Wolf
Rage of the Buccaneers (1963)
Gordon, the Black Buccaneer
Love Is a Ball (1963)
Gaspard
Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man (1962)
Major Padula
The Reluctant Saint (1962)
Father Raspi
Desert Warrior (1961)
Prince Said
Let No Man Write My Epitaph (1960)
Louie Ramponi
Sayonara (1957)
Nakamura
Three for Jamie Dawn (1956)
George Lorenz
Queen of Babylon (1956)
Amal
A Life in the Balance (1955)
Antonio Gomez
The Saracen Blade (1954)
Pietro Donati
Sombrero (1953)
Pepe Gonzales
Latin Lovers (1952)
Roberto Santos
My Man and I (1952)
Chu Chu Ramírez
Across the Wide Missouri (1951)
Ironshirt
The Mark of the Renegade (1951)
Marcos Zappa
Two Weeks with Love (1950)
Demi Armendez
Mystery Street (1950)
Peter Moralas
Right Cross (1950)
Johnny Monterez
The Kissing Bandit (1949)
Fiesta specialty dance
Border Incident (1949)
Pablo Rodriguez
Neptune's Daughter (1949)
Jose O'Rourke
Battleground (1949)
Roderigues
On an Island with You (1948)
Ricardo Montez
Fiesta (1947)
Mario Morales
La Fuga (1944)
Santa (1943)

Cast (Special)

The Face: Jesus in Art (2001)
Narrator
The Mexican Americans (2000)
Interviewee
U.S.-Mexican War (1846-1848) (1998)
Voice
An All Star Party for Aaron Spelling (1998)
Behind the Planet of the Apes (1998)
ALMA Awards (1998)
Performer
Barbara Stanwyck: Straight Down the Line (1997)
Interviewee
Lena Horne: In Her Own Voice (1996)
Latin Nights: An All-Star Celebration (1995)
1995 NCLR Bravo Awards (1995)
The 4th Annual Desi Awards (1992)
Performer
All-Star Fiesta at Ford's (1992)
Spy Magazine Presents How to Be Famous (1990)
El Matador (1990)
Narration
Christmas With the Stars: An International Earthquake Benefit (1989)
Thanks for Giving (1989)
Co-Host
Welcome Home (1987)
The National AIDS Awareness Test: What Do You Know About Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome? (1987)
The Golden Eagle Awards (1987)
Host
Placido Domingo Sings Zarzuela! (1986)
The Magic of David Copperfield (1984)
Celebrities: Where Are They Now? (1983)
Host
Dinah in Search of the Ideal Man (1973)
The Fantasticks (1964)
El Gallo
Tonight in Havana (1958)
Tio

Cast (Short)

The Million Dollar Nickel (1952)
Himself

Life Events

1941

First appeared on stage in "Her Cardboard Lover" opposite Tallulah Bankhead

1941

Short film debut, "He's a Latin from Staten Island"

1942

Returned to Mexico after mother's death and made feature debut in "El Verdugo de Sevilla"

1947

Made US feature debut in the musical, "Fiesta"; had a memorable dance scene with a young Cyd Charisse

1947

Signed a contract with MGM studios

1955

Appeared on Broadway in the short-lived, "Seventh Heaven"

1957

Played a Kabuki theater actor in the Oscar-winning film "Sayonara"

1957

Starred in the Broadway musical "Jamaica," opposite Lena Horne

1965

Served as vice president of the Screen Actors Guild

1966

Co-starred with Debbie Reynolds in "The Singing Nun"

1969

First TV-movie, "The Pigeon" (ABC)

1972

Appeared in the Broadway production of "Don Juan in Hell"

1978

Best-known for the role of Mr. Roarke in the Aaron Spelling-produced series "Fantasy Island" (ABC)

1982

Played the role of Khan Noonien Singh in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan"

1984

Cast as The Sheik's father in the comedy film, "Cannonball Run II"

1985

Portrayed shipping tycoon Zachary Powers in the "Dynasty" spinoff series, "The Colbys" (ABC)

1988

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!

1991

Announced his intention to run for the presidency of Nosotros

1993

Underwent operation in July to take care of a hemorrhage on his spine; was bedridden for a month and subsequently needed a walker

1994

Began working on the Aaron Spelling-produced series, "Heaven Help Us"; played an angel, supplying a voice much of the time and making most of his occasional appearances sitting down

1995

Had a recurring role as the voice of Armondo Gutierrez in "Freakazoid!" (Kids' WB!)

2002

Cast as Grandpa Cortez in "Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams"

2002

Voiced Señor Senior Sr. on the Disney Channel's animated series "Kim Possible"

2003

Reprised Grandpa Cortez role in "Spy Kids 3D: Game Over"

2006

Voiced the Head of Council in the animated film, "The Ant Bully"

2006

Voiced the head of the Ant Council in "The Ant Bully," a computer-animated film directed by John Davis

Photo Collections

A Date with Judy - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a number of photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's A Date with Judy (1948), starring Wallace Beery, Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Powell, and Robert Stack.
Neptune's Daughter - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from Neptune's Daughter (1949), starring Esther Williams and Red Skelton. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Latin Lovers - Publicity Stills
Here are a few stills taken to help publicize MGM's Latin Lovers (1953), starring Ricardo Montalban and Lana Turner. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Battleground - Action Publicity Stills
Here are several action-oriented publicity stills taken for MGM's Battleground (1949). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Battleground - Behind-the-Scenes Stills
Here are a number of photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's Battleground (1949), directed by William Wellman and starring Van Johnson, Ricardo Montalban, James Whitmore, George Murphy, and many others.
Border Incident - Publicity Still
Here is a publicity still from MGM's Border Incident (1949), directed by Anthony Mann and Starring Ricardo Montalban and George Murphy. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Neptune's Daughter - Movie Poster
Here is an original-release American movie poster for Neptune's Daughter (1949), starring Esther Williams and Red Skelton.
Border Incident - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from MGM's Border Incident (1949), starring Ricardo Montalban and directed by Anthony Mann. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Mystery Street - Movie Poster
Here is an original release American window card poster for Mystery Street (1950), starring Ricardo Montalban.
Two Weeks with Love - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Two Weeks with Love (1950). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Border Incident - Open, Braceros Opening credit sequence for director Anthony Mann's Border Incident, 1949, with Ricardo Montalban, followed by newsy narration about migrant "Braceros," cinematography by John Alton.
Border Incident (1949) - I Can Be Very Impatient From a grisly depiction of undocumented Mexican “braceros” robbed and murdered entering the U.S. looking for work, director Anthony Mann follows John C. Higgins’ script into plain exposition, introducing George Murphy and Ricardo Montalban as Rodriguez and Bearnes, Harry Antrim and Martin Garralaga their bosses, in Border Incident, 1949.
Border Incident (1949) - How Can Business Be Bad? Howard Da Silva as American Parkson, leader of a ring that smuggles in exploited workers from Mexico, calls his contacts (Sig Ruman, Arnold Moss), who are then visited by undercover American agent Bearnes (George Murphy), whose mission is to plant stolen immigration permits, in director Anthony Mann’s Border Incident, 1949.
Border Incident (1949) - This Man Is Not A Bracero With his cover blown, Mexican agent Pablo (Ricardo Montalban) claims he's a fugitive trying to leave the country, under questioning from Ulrich (Sig Ruman) in Anthony Mann's Border Incident, 1949.
Right Cross (1950) - He's A Good Boy Second scene, we meet the leading man, boxer Johnny (Ricardo Montalban) who, it turns out, is not only professionally involved with Pat (June Allyson), the daughter of his manager, and who himself has other prospects (Barry Kelley), early in MGM's Right Cross, 1950, directed by John Sturges.
Right Cross (1950) - Nice Future Picking Lettuce Injured boxer Johnny (Ricardo Montalban) is sharing about family back in Mexico with writer pal Rick (Dick Powell) when his girlfriend Pat (June Allyson, who was also Mrs. Powell), the daughter of Johnny's manager arrives, bringing some tension, in MGM's Right Cross, 1950.
Reluctant Saint, The (1962) - In The Service Of God Cupertino, Apulia, Italy ca. 1620, Francesca (Lea Padovani) hopes to place her mentally challenged son (Maximillian Schell, title character), who’s just lost another job, in a monastery, represented by her brother Giovanni (Harold Goldblatt) and Fr. Raspi (Ricardo Montalban), in The Reluctant Saint, 1962.
Reluctant Saint, The (1962) - Is It Good For The Soul? Now a lay-brother at a monastery in 17th century Italy, Giuseppe (Maximillian Schell, title character) with two colleagues gets a quick lecture in humble behavior from pretty-strict Father Raspi (Ricardo Montalban), in producer-director Edward Dmytryk’s well-received box-office flop The Reluctant Saint, 1962.
Reluctant Saint, The (1962) - A True Son Of St. Francis Franciscan monastery chiefs Fr. Raspi and Giovanni (Ricardo Montalban, Harold Goldblatt) hope to impress the visiting vicar-general (Akim Tamiroff) and not expose their clumsy stable-hand Giuseppe (Maximillian Schell, title character), in Edward Dmytryk’s The Reluctant Saint, 1962.
Sombrero (1953) - Open, Welcome To My Village! Splashy opening from producer Jack Cummings, in the Latin hybrid romantic comic-drama with music, largely shot in Mexico, Ricardo Montalban addressing the camera as “Pepe,” heading the quasi-Latin cast, in MGM’s Sombrero, 1953.
Singing Nun, The (1966) - Sister Adele Her first day at the mission house, Father John (Ricardo Montalban) and Sister Cluny (Agnes Moorehead) leading the usual songs, Mother Prioress (Greer Garson) attending, Sister Ann (Debbie Reynolds) wows all with a song about her guitar, in MGM's The Singing Nun, 1966.
Latin Lovers (1952) - I Want That Horse Now in Brazil, with her fiancè (John Lund) nursing a polo injury, American Nora (Lana Turner) maybe bored, then their attention is diverted by a horse and its trainer (Ricardo Montalban, his first scene), in MGM’s Latin Lovers, 1952.

Trailer

Neptune's Daughter (1949) -- (Original Trailer) A polo player romances a bathing suit designer in MGM's Neptune's Daughter (1949), starring Esther Williams.
Start Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (1982) -- (Original Trailer) Original trailer for the hit second feature film based on the TV series, Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, 1982, with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Ricardo Montalban, directed by Nicholas Meyer.
Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad, The (1988) -- (Original Trailer) Trailer for the first of the hit Leslie Nielsen features, derived from the failed TV series from the Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker team that made Airplane, (1980), with O.J. Simpson, Priscilla Presley and Ricardo Montalban, The Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad, 1988.
Latin Lovers - (Original Trailer) Expect Ricardo Montalban to give Lana Turner a taste for Latin Lovers (1953) in this Technicolor romance.
Sweet Charity - (Original Trailer) A taxi dancer (Shirley MacLaine) is unlucky in love in Bob Fosse's musical Sweet Charity(1969).
Battleground - (Original Trailer) American soldiers in France fight to survive a Nazi siege just before the Battle of the Bulge in Battleground (1949), directed by William Wellman and starring Van Johnson, John Hodiak and Ricardo Montalban.
Two Weeks With Love - (Original Trailer) Two sisters (Jane Powell, Debbie Reynolds) find romance during a turn-of-the-century family vacation in MGM's Technicolor musical Two Weeks With Love (1950).
Border Incident - (Original Trailer) Police try to crack down on the illegal immigration racket in Border Incident (1949) starring Ricardo Montalban.
Madame X (1966) - (Original Trailer) Lana Turner is a fallen woman on trial for murder who is defended by the son she abandoned years earlier in the seventh movie version of Madame X (1966).
Cheyenne Autumn - (Original Trailer) A reluctant calvary Captain must track a defiant tribe of migrating Cheyennes in Cheyenne Autumn (1964).
Across The Wide Missouri - (Original Trailer) Clark Gable plays a fur trapper forced to marry a woman from the Blackfoot Indian tribe in Across the Wide Missouri (1951).
Sol Madrid - (Original Trailer) David McCallum is an undercover agent pursuing heroin smugglers in Sol Madrid (1968) co-starring Telly Savalas.

Family

Jennaro Montalban
Father
Ricarda Montalban
Mother
Died 1941.
Carlos Montalban
Brother
Actor, dancer. Older; died March 28, 1991 at the age of 87.
Carmen Montalban
Sister
Loretta Young
Sister-In-Law
Actor.
Sally Blane
Sister-In-Law
Actor.
Mark Montalban
Son
Born 1947; mother Georgiana Young.
Laura Montalban
Daughter
Born 1949; worked as assistant to clothing designer Bill Blass in the 1970s; mother Georgiana Young.
Anita Montalban
Daughter
Born 1952; mother Georgiana Young.
Victor Montalban
Son
Mother Georgiana Young.

Companions

Georgiana Young
Wife
Actor. Married October 26, 1944; youngest sister of Loretta Young.

Bibliography

"Reflections: A Life in Two Worlds"
Ricardo Montalban and Bob Thomas (1991)

Notes

There is a rich source of untapped material [stories about Latin Americans] but Hollywood has never made any attempt to scratch the surface....I always hoped that for an actor the only barrier would be the limit of his own talent."--Ricardo Montalban ("TV Time," July 13, 1991)

"Hollywood killed my dreams. I had dreamt of being a working actor, of choosing roles that had essence. In the roles I had, you had to have your head in place and keep your shoes shined. I did it because that's what was offered me. I wish I had the luxury of choosing between 15 scripts. I had to decide to do one script--usually bad--or not work."--Ricardo Montalban ("TV Time," July 13, 1991)

At age thirty-five with the flush of youth behind him, his maturity, not his romantic allure, stood him in good professional stead. Like his predecessor, Gilbert Roland, he has remained a familiar character star in both films and television ever since. He was never a mysterious, enigmatic romantic lead like Roland, or even Lamas, but his sincerity as a performer made him equally convincing in such disparate roles as a priest or a heavy."--James Robert Parish ("The MGM Stock Company," 1973)