Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ricardo Montalban

Ricardo Montalban's career spanned seven decades as a movie actor, television actor and Broadway performer.

Ricardo Montalban was born Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán y Merino on November 25, 1920 to Ricarda Merino and Jenaro Montalbán in Mexico City, Mexico.

In 1941, Ricardo Montalban appeared in his first motion pictures, three minute musicals produced for the Soundies film jukeboxes.

Ricardo Montalban's first starring role was in He's a Latin from Staten Island (1941).

In 1967, he played Khan Noonien Singh in the Star Trek episode "Space Seed." In 1982, he would recreate the role for the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

His most notable films roles include Five Were Chosen (1942), The Kissing Bandit (1948), Across the Wide Missouri (1951), Sayonara (1957), The Money Trap (1965), Madame X (1966), The Singing Nun (1966) and Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971). During the 2000s, he appeared as Grandfather Valentine in several of the Spy Kids films.

From 1977 to 1984 he starred as Mr. Roarke in the television series Fantasy Island. He also appeared in such classic television shows as Letter to Loretta, Bonanza, The Untouchables, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Dr. Kildrare, I Spy, Ironside, Gunsmoke, Hawaii Five O, The Virginian, Columbo, Dynasty, The Colbys, Murder She Wrote and Chicago Hope.

In 1978, he won an Emmy award for Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Drama Series for How The West Was Won.

In 1955, he made his Broadway debut as Chico in the musical Seventh Heaven. He would later star in Don Juan in Hell and Jamaica. He would receive a Tony nomination for Best Actor for Jamaica.

In 1993, he received the Life Time Achievement Award from the Screen Actor's Guild.

He also has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Television.

For years, was a commercial spokesman for Chrysler Corp. automobiles.

In 1993, he had a 9 1/2 hour surgical operation on his spine to repair an old back injury he received while filming Across the Wide Missouri. As a result, he was confined to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life.

Ricardo Montalban married Georgiana Young (half sister of Loretta Young) on October 26, 1944. They were married 63 years until her death on November 13, 2007.

On January 14, 2009, at the age of 88, Ricardo Montalban died of congestive heart failure. His final acting credit was an episode of American Dad which aired after his death.

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