Montalban, who was born in Mexico City on November 25, 1920, appeared in more than 160 roles during his 66-year career that spanned comedies, science fiction, voice acting, and regular roles in classic TV series.
Best known for his leading role as Mr. Roarke in the ABC series “Fantasy Island” from 1978-1984, Montalban achieved cult status in pop culture and among Star Trek fans for his portrayal of Khan Noonien Singh in the original TV series and later more famously in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.”
Montalban’s presence was nearly unavoidable on television for decades, including appearances in “Hawaii Five-O,” “Wonder Woman” and “Murder, She Wrote,” as well as lesser voice roles in “Dora the Explorer” and “Freakazoid!” as the recurring character Armondo Guitierrez.
Montalban’s trademark blend of gentlemanly charisma matched with his classy demeanor made him a go-to actor for parts demanding mysterious undertones laced with suave mannerisms. His places in TV canon, as well as the “Star Trek” universe are firmly cemented by the characters he crafted. As one of “Star Trek”’s most iconic villains, his performance opposite William Shatner in “The Wrath of Khan” immortalized Khan’s status as Captain James T. Kirk’s true nemesis.
Where do you first remember seeing Ricardo Montalban on screen? What were your favorite lines from his career? Share your thoughts and memories in the comment thread below.