Fantasy Island star Ricardo Montalban has passed away

January 14, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Emmy Award winning Mexican-born actor Ricardo Montalban, died Wednesday morning at his home, a city councilman said, at the age of 88.  Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán Merino (his fullname) originally became a star in splashy MGM musicals.  Montalban 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.” He also starred with the swimming beauty in “On an Island with You” and “Neptune’s Daughter.”

During the late 1970s, he was the spokesperson in automobile advertisements for the Chrysler Cordoba, in which he famously extols the “Corinthian leather” used for its interior. From 1977 to 1984 he starred as wish-fulfilling Mr. Roarke in the television series Fantasy Island. He also played the villainous Khan Noonien Singh in both the 1967 “Space Seed” episode 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. Up until his 80s, he continued to perform, often providing voices for animated films and commercials.

Montalban’s death was announced at a meeting of the city council by president Eric Garcetti, who represents the district where the actor lived. Garcetti did not give a cause of death.

“The Ricardo Montalban Theatre in my Council District — where the next generations of performers participate in plays, musicals, and concerts — stands as a fitting tribute to this consummate performer,” Garcetti said later in a written statement.

R.I.P. Ricardo!

Reported by: Hot Momma Celebrity Gossip


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