Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Goodbye to a Classy Actor

Ricardo Montalban passed away today at the age of 88. He had been a star in Mexican movies when MGM brought him to Hollywood in 1946. He was cast in the leading role opposite Esther Williams in "Fiesta," and starred again with the swimming beauty in "On an Island with You" and "Neptune's Daughter."

But Montalban was best known as the faintly mysterious, white-suited Mr. Roarke, who presided over a tropical island resort where visitors were able to fulfill their lifelong dreams — usually at the unexpected expense of a difficult life lesson. Following a floatplane landing and lei ceremony, he greeted each guest with the line: "I am Mr. Roarke, your host. Welcome to Fantasy Island."

The show ran from 1978 to 1984.

More recently, he appeared as villains in two hits of the 1980s: "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan" and the farcical "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad."

Only Ricardo Montalban could have a conversation with a character known as "Mr. Papsmear" and make you believe it was perfectly normal!

Here is a gag picture. While on the set of Star Trek 2, the special effects crew made him a miniature "Tattoo" robot with his co-stars (Hervé Villechaize) face!


Ken Mitchroney said...

We had him on the "Antbully" and he was a total pro. I will think of him as playing baseball in the snow in " Battleground" or singing " Baby it's cold outside" with Ester Williams.

Jeff Adcock said...

I wonder how many cars he sold with his great pronounciation of Cordoba, in the commercials for the car of that name.