Ricardo Montalban

Ricardo Montalban

American and Mexican theater, film, radio and television actor
Date of Birth: 25.11.1920
Country: USA

Biography of Ricardo Montalban

Ricardo Montalban, an American and Mexican actor of theater, film, radio, and television, had a career that spanned seven decades. Born on November 25, 1920, in Mexico City, Montalban grew up in the city of Torreon. His parents, Ricardo Merino and Henaro Montalban, were Castilian Spanish immigrants. He had a sister named Carmen and two brothers, Pedro and actor Carlos Montalban.

Ricardo Montalban

At a young age, Montalban moved to Los Angeles to live with his brother Carlos. In 1940, he relocated to New York and landed a small role in the play "Her Cardboard Lover." In 1941, Montalban made his first appearance in a short musical film, which was like a music video. Later that same year, he played a guitar-playing gigolo in the film "He's a Latin from Staten Island." However, when Montalban learned that his mother was terminally ill, he returned to Mexico where he starred in numerous Spanish-language films and became a movie star in his homeland.

Ricardo Montalban

When Montalban arrived in Hollywood in 1943, the studio wanted to change his real name to the stage name Ricky Martin. Throughout his career, he often played Asian characters, mainly Japanese. He portrayed Nakamura in the melodrama film "Sayonara" in 1957 and Alex Pareno in the "Samurai" episode of the series "Hawaii Five-O." His first leading role, Pablo Rodriguez, came in 1949 in the film noir "Border Incident." Montalban became the first Spanish-speaking actor to appear on the cover of Life magazine on November 21, 1949.

Ricardo Montalban

In the 1950s and 1960s, he was one of the few Spanish actors who actively worked in film. Montalban's most famous television role was Mr. Roarke in the series "Fantasy Island," which aired from 1978 to 1984. The show was one of the most popular projects at the time, and Roarke and his assistant Tattoo (played by actor Herve Villechaize) became pop idols.

Ricardo Montalban

Montalban appeared in various films, including "The Naked Gun," "Escape from the Planet of the Apes," "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes," "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," "Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams," and "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over." In 2009, before his death, Montalban voiced a character in an episode of the animated series "American Dad." According to the show's executive producer, Mike Barker, this was Montalban's last role.

During the filming of "Across the Wide Missouri" in 1951, Montalban fell off a horse, lost consciousness, and was trampled by another horse, resulting in a serious spinal injury that plagued him for the rest of his life. In 1993, when the pain became unbearable, Montalban underwent a nine-and-a-half-hour surgery on his spine. The operation left him paralyzed from the waist down, and he had to use a wheelchair. Despite becoming disabled, he continued acting and voicing animated characters, as well as starring in the film "Nosotros." Director Robert Rodriguez specifically created the role of Grandpa Cortez in "Spy Kids" for Montalban, with his wheelchair equipped with a rocket engine.

Montalban was married to actress and model Georgiana Young since 1944. The couple had four children - Laura, Mark, Anita, and Victor. After 63 years of marriage, Young passed away at the age of 83 on November 13, 2007.

The 88-year-old actor passed away on January 14, 2009, in his Los Angeles home. According to his son-in-law, Gilbert Smith, his death was caused by "complications of old age." Later, it was revealed that Montalban died from heart failure. He was buried next to his wife at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City.

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