Ricardo Montalban

Ricardo Montalban
Los Angeles Times


Ricardo Montalban
TV: North side of the 7000 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Born Nov. 25, 1920 in Mexico City, Mexico
Died Jan. 14, 2009 in Los Angeles, CA

A suave leading man who was one of the first Mexican-born actors to make it big in Hollywood, Ricardo Montalban was best known for his role as Mr. Roarke on TV's "Fantasy Island."

Within the entertainment industry, Montalban was widely respected for his efforts to create opportunities for Latinos, although he and others believed that his activism hurt his career. In 1970, he founded the nonprofit Nosotros Foundation to improve the image and increase employment of Latinos in Hollywood.

Montalban was already a star of Mexican movies in the 1940s when MGM cast him as a bullfighter opposite Esther Williams in "Fiesta" and put him under contract. He would go on to appear alongside such movie greats as Clark Gable and Lana Turner.

When major film roles dried up for him in the 1970s, he turned to stage and eventually TV, where he was familiar to millions as the mysterious host whose signature line, “Welcome to Fantasy Island,” opened the hit ABC show that aired from 1978 to 1984.

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