Thursday, January 15, 2009
One of the original Hollywood Latin Lovers, Ricardo Montalban, has passed away. He was known mainly as Mr. Roarke from Fantasy Island and was a star of Hollywood musicals in the 40's and Broadway in the 50's. He was also well known for his portrayal of Khan in the Star Trek TV show and movie. His suave, smooth, elegant, sexy, refined voice and mannerisms endeared him to millions.
Born to Spanish emigrants in Mexico City, Ricardo first achieved fame in NYC summer stock theater and Mexican films.
The thing that most stood out about this man, other than his movie star good looks, was his involvement in his community. I always have an affinity for minorities who give back to their communities. Mr. Montalban was instrumental in establishing the ALMA awards, awards for Spanish speaking actors. In 1970, he founded NOSOTROS and became it's first president, a group that fought the discrimination of Spanish speaking actors, sought to improve their image on screen and urged them to perfect their craft. This was groundbreaking. He had felt the sting of racism in America where he faced Texan signs barring "Dogs and Mexicans". How heartbreaking and disgusting? What most people don't realize is that we are all the same, when Latin actors win, I win; when coal miners in Kentucky win, I win. When single mothers win, I win. Any progression is good for all humanity. Any discrimination makes us all losers.
Vaya con Dios, Papi!!!!!