To me Ricardo Montalban is the "BEST of the Best"!
Be he hero or villain, there is absolutely NOBODY that can touch him.
Even though I stopped buying the Star Trek books back in 1994 I absolutely had to buy the The Eugenics Wars Vol I: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh, The Eugenics Wars Vol. 2: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh, and most ESPECIALLY To Reign in Hell: The Exile of Khan Noonien Singh. The cover picture on that one gives me goosebumps, he's so gorgeous!
Just to list a few of the TV & Movie roles this courageous actor has appeared in that I have enjoyed:
Fantasy Island where he is and always shall be THE Mr. Roarke.
The Original Disney Zorro as Ramon Castillo in "Auld Acquaintance."
Hawaii Five-O as race car driver Alex Pareno in "Death Wish on Tantalus Mountain" & bizarrely as Leonard Tokura in "Samurai."
The Wild Wild West as a former Confederate Col. Noel Bartley Vautrain in "The Night of the Lord of Limbo." (Very reminiscent of Khan!)
The TV movie "Mark of Zorro" as the villainous Captain Esteban.
Columbo as Luis Montoya an ex-bullfighter in "A Matter of Honor", where he incidentally acquired the injury that has him in a wheelchair to this day.
Star Trek:TOS where he first played the incredibly sexy Khan Noonien Singh in "Space Seed."
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes & Escape from the Planet of the Apes where he played Armando who risked imprisonment and eventually gave his life for the sake of the fugitive apes.
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! where he played the delicious villain Vincent Ludwig.
Star Trek: The Wrath Of Khan where he reprises his role of Khan Noonien Singh.
Spy Kids 2 & 3 where he is STILL sexy as the Grandfather of Carmen and Juni.
I pray he will be around for many years to come, but realize that as he is nearly 88, I may soon lose another of those whom I admire most.
The oldest memory I have of Ricardo Montalban, is when I was very young, probable about 8 to 10 years old. Back in the 1950’s I remember a character he played on the “Loretta Young Show”. At the first of the program, his character was shinning shoes in the lobby area of a big office building.
It seems that he had been doing this for a long time and one of his regular customers was in his chair getting his shoes shined. I don’t remember a lot about any conversation that went on between them. Seems they were having usual small take that most people might have.
Anyway, towards the end of the show the guy that was getting his shoes shined went to a restaurant that was recommended by someone he worked with. When he got to the restaurant, he was greeted by the character that Ricardo Montalban played. He was all decked out in fine evening apparel, a tuxedo I think and the guy from the office building was quite surprised to see him there dressed that way. I don’t remember all of the lines that they said to each other. I do remember the guy that had his shoes shined asking Ricardo Montalban’s character what he was doing there. He responded that he owned the place. The guy was shocked to hear that and then asked him what he was doing shinning shoes. His reply was that he shined shoes for a long time before he got the restaurant and the reason he still shined shoes was to remind him where he came from and he said he did this whenever he got to feeling superior to others because of what he had accomplished and to never get a big head about himself.
I have never forgotten that and it made an impact on me and how I try to conduct myself towards others. Not that I have done anything special in my life. I have plodded alone like most people, had some success in life and many failures or disappointments as all people do.
I think Ricardo Montalban is one of the great actors of all time and has never been recognized for his great performances. Like a lot of actors from his generation you could see their own selves coming through in what they did. I would really like to meet him in person or be at least able to werite to him personnaly nd tell him how his performance so long ago made a lasting impression on me. Whenever a movies is in comes on TCM or other places, I look forward to seeing them, he is always superb in whatever I have seem him do.
I have seen reruns of the movies he has been in. He is honest with the characters he plays. What can be said? I like watching the movies because. They are entertainig to watch. He has a strong character.
By the way in Star Trek, his chest is real.The reason is that well in all of his old movies when he had his shirt off it was his real chest. What ya know?
I think he is very amazing. Not too long ago I was reading his biography in his book that he and this other guy wrote together. I came to realize that he is pretty amazing. There is a funny thing too that every time he plays a character alot of his own personality goes into the character also. Then I have to laugh because the people who make the movies describe him the same way each time.
There is something else about him that is interesting. He tries not to forget who he is and that is important. He is Mexican by birth and American by choice. He wants people to know it is not the outside that counts but rather the inside.
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