Let’s face it, the only way to discribe Ricardo Montalban was suave. I don’t mind admitting I devotedly watched Fantasy Island. It aired on Saturday nights directly after the Love Boat, which I also watched – devotedly. It was a chick thing.
But, Montablan will always be remembered because he was Kahn, the man who caused the death of Spock. If you don’t know the story, I pity you.
Revenge is a dish that is best served cold.
It is very cold in space.
“…Montalban was no stranger to prejudice. He was born Nov. 25, 1920, in Mexico City, the son of parents who had emigrated from Spain. The boy was brought up to speak the Castilian Spanish of his forebears. To Mexican ears that sounded strange and effeminate, and young Ricardo was jeered by his schoolmates.
His mother also dressed him with old-country formality, and he wore lace collars and short pants “long after my legs had grown long and hairy,” he wrote in his 1980 autobiography, “Reflections: A Life in Two Worlds.”
“It is not easy to grow up in a country that has different customs from your own family’s.”
While driving through Texas with his brother, Montalban recalled seeing a sign on a diner: “No Dogs or Mexicans Allowed.” In Los Angeles, where he attended Fairfax High School, he and a friend were refused entrance to a dance hall because they were Mexicans.
Rather than seek a career in Hollywood, Montalban played summer stock in New York. He returned to Mexico City and played leading roles in movies from 1941 to 1945. That led to an MGM contract.
Besides the Williams spectacles, the handsome actor appeared in “Sombrero” (opposite Pier Angeli), “Two Weeks With Love” (Jane Powell) and “Latin Lovers” (Lana Turner).
He also appeared in dramatic roles in such films as “Border Incident,” “Battleground,” “Mystery Street” and “Right Cross.”
“Movies were never kind to me; I had to fight for every inch of film,” he reflected in 1970. “Usually my best scenes would end up on the cutting-room floor.”
Montalban had better luck after leaving MGM in 1953, though he was usually cast in ethnic roles. He appeared as a Japanese kabuki actor in “Sayonara” and an Indian in “Cheyenne Autumn.” His other films included: “Madame X,” “The Singing Nun,” “Sweet Charity,” “Escape from the Planet of the Apes” and “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.”
Montalban was sometimes said to be the source of Billy Crystal’s “you look MAHvelous” character on “Saturday Night Live,” though the inspiration was really Argentinian-born actor Fernando Lamas.
In 1944, Montalban married Georgiana Young, actress and model and younger sister of actress Loretta Young. Both Roman Catholics, they remained one of Hollywood’s most devoted couples. She died in 2007. They had four children: Laura, Mark, Anita and Victor.
Montalban suffered a spinal injury in a horse fall while making a 1951 Clark Gable Western, “Across the Wide Missouri,” and thereafter walked with a limp he managed to mask during his performances.
In 1993, Montalban lost the feeling in his leg, and exhaustive tests showed that he had suffered a small hemorrhage in his neck, similar to the injury decades earlier. He underwent 9 1/2 hours of spinal surgery at UCLA Medical Center.
Despite the constant pain, the actor was able to take a role in an Aaron Spelling TV series, “Heaven Help Us.” Twice a month in 1994, he flew to San Antonio for two or three days of filming as an angel who watched over a young couple.
In an interview at the time, Montalban remarked: “I’ve never given up hope. But I have to be realistic. I gave my tennis rackets to my son, figuring I’ll never play again. But my doctor said, `Don’t say that. Strange things happen. You never know.'”..”