About Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán y Merino
Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán y Merino (November 25, 1920 – January 14, 2009) was a Mexican-born American radio, television, theatre and film actor. He had a career spanning seven decades (motion pictures from 1943 to 2006) and multiple notable roles. During the mid-to-late 1970s, he was the spokesperson in automobile advertisements for the Chrysler Cordoba (in which he famously extolled the "soft Corinthian leather" used for its interior). From 1977 to 1984 he starred as Mr. Roarke in the television series Fantasy Island. He also played Khan Noonien Singh in both the 1967 episode "Space Seed" of the first season of the original Star Trek series, and the 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. He won an Emmy Award in 1978, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in 1993. Into his 80s, he continued to perform, often providing voices for animated films and commercials.
Montalbán was born in Mexico City, but grew up in the city of Torreon, the son of Castilian Spanish émigrés Ricarda Merino and Jenaro Montalbán, a store manager. He had a sister, Carmen, and two brothers, Pedro and the actor Carlos Montalbán. As a teenager, Ricardo moved to Los Angeles to live with Carlos. The two went to New York City in 1940, and Ricardo earned a minor role in the play, Her Cardboard Lover.
Montalbán's best-known television role was that of Mr. Roarke in the television series Fantasy Island, which he played from 1978 until 1984. For a while, the series was one of the most popular on television, and his character as well as that of his sidekick, Tattoo (played by Hervé Villechaize), became pop icons. Another of his well-known roles was that of Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, in which he reprised a role that he had originated in the 1967 episode of Star Trek titled "Space Seed". There were some questions initially as to whether Montalbán had had prosthetic muscles applied to his chest during filming of Star Trek II to make him appear more muscular; director Nicholas Meyer replied that even in his sixties Montalbán was "one strong cookie" and that his real chest was seen on film; Khan's costume was specifically designed to display Montalbán's physique. When Montalbán guest starred in the Family Guy episode "McStroke" as the genetically engineered cow, he made several references to his role as Khan (such as using the quote "...including... my beloved wife").
He married Georgiana Young (née Georgiana Belzer), an actress and model in 1944; they had four children: Laura, Mark, Anita and Victor. Georgiana was the half-sister of the actresses Sally Blane, Polly Ann Young, and movie and television star Loretta Young, who nicknamed her "Georgie". Georgiana's niece is Judy Lewis, the daughter of Loretta Young and Clark Gable. After sixty-three years of marriage, Georgiana Belzer de Montalbán died on November 13, 2007, at the age of eighty-four.
Ricardo Montalbán's Timeline
November 25, 1920
Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
October 26, 1944
Tia Juana, Mexico
January 14, 2009