Remembering Soft Corinthian Leather with Much Fondness.....

One of my favorite celebrity GILFs (grandfather I'd like to get frisky with) has passed away. As my regular readers know the Diva would get leg tingles and see sparklebursts at the thought of Ricardo caressing soft Corinthian leather.

And when I saw him playing Khan Noonien Singh on the original Star Trek series and of course in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan I began to fantasize about geriatric bad boys (He was over 60 years old by then....but still a yummy dish of man)

Now I will admit I have a thing for hot hunky latinos (My own Aging Disco Divo is quite the GILF too) but ya gotta' admit.... wow

The Associated Press
Wednesday, January 14, 2009; 4:23 PM

LOS ANGELES -- Ricardo Montalban, the Mexican-born actor who became a star in splashy MGM musicals and later as the wish-fulfilling Mr. Roarke in TV's "Fantasy Island," died Wednesday morning at his home, a city councilman said. He was 88. Montalban's death was announced at a meeting of the city council by president Eric Garcetti, who represents the district where the actor lived. Garcetti did not give a cause of death.

"The Ricardo Montalban Theatre in my Council District _ where the next generations of performers participate in plays, musicals, and concerts _ stands as a fitting tribute to this consummate performer," Garcetti said later in a written statement.

Montalban had been a star in Mexican movies when MGM brought him to Hollywood in 1946. He was cast in the leading role opposite Esther Williams in "Fiesta." He also starred with the swimming beauty in "On an Island with You" and "Neptune's Daughter."

A later generation knew Montalban as the faintly mysterious, white-suited Mr. Roarke, who presided over an island resort where visitors were able to fulfill their lifelong dreams. "Fantasy Island" received high ratings for most of its 1978-1984 span on ABC television and still appears in reruns.

In a 1978 interview, he analyzed the series' success:

"What is appealing is the idea of attaining the unattainable and learning from it. Once you obtain a fantasy it becomes a reality, and that reality is not as exciting as your fantasy. Through the fantasies you learn to appreciate your own realities."

Montalbán was born in Mexico City, the son of Ricarda Merino and Jenaro Montalbán, a store manager. He had a brother, actor Carlos Montalbán, and a sister, Carmen. He was a practicing Roman Catholic and once had said that his religion was the "most important thing" in his life. He remained a Mexican citizen by choice, having never applied for American citizenship.

He married Georgiana Young, an actress, in 1944; they had four children. She was half-sister of the actresses Sally Blane, Polly Ann Young, and Loretta Young, who nicknamed her "Georgie". After 63 years of marriage, Georgiana Young de Montalbán died on November 13, 2007, at the age of 84.

Montalbán died on January 14, 2009 in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 88. His cause of death has not yet been identified.


Montalbán has stated that when he first arrived in Hollywood, studios wanted to change his name to Ricky Martin. He has frequently portrayed Asian characters - mostly of Japanese background (as in Sayonara and the Hawaii Five-O episode "Samurai"). His first leading role was the 1949 film Border Incident, with actor George Murphy. During the 1950s and 1960s he was one of only a few actively working Hispanic actors.

Many of his early roles were in Westerns in which he played character parts, usually as an "Indian" or as a "Latin Lover". In 1950, he was cast against type, playing a Cape Cod police officer in the film Mystery Street. In 1957, he played Nakamura in the Oscar-winning film Sayonara.

From 1957 to 1959 he starred in the Broadway musical Jamaica, singing several light-hearted calypso numbers opposite Lena Horne.

In 1975, he was chosen as the television spokesman for the new Chrysler Cordoba. The car became a successful model, and over the following several years, was heavily advertised; his mellifluous delivery of a line praising its "soft Corinthian leather" upholstery, often misquoted as "rich Corinthian leather", became famous and was much parodied, and Montalbán subsequently became a favorite subject of impersonators. Eugene Levy, for example, frequently impersonated him on SCTV. In 1986, he was featured in a magazine advertisement for the new Chrysler New Yorker.

Montalbán's best-known television role was that of Mr. Roarke in the television series Fantasy Island, which he played from 1978 until 1984. For a while, the series was one of the most popular on television, and his character as well as that of his sidekick, Tattoo (played by Hervé Villechaize), became pop icons.

Another well known role was that of Khan in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which was a reprisal of his role in the 1967 episode of Star Trek entitled "Space Seed". There were some questions initially as to whether Montalbán had prosthetic muscles applied to his chest during filming of Star Trek II to make him appear more muscular. Montalbán and others associated with the production of Star Trek II have disputed this, most notably Leonard Nimoy in his book I Am Spock, citing the fact that he was always physically active and worked out regularly, and those really were his muscles. The theory that those chest muscles were Montalban's own is furthered by an episode of the Biography series about him, in which both William Shatner and Montalban's son say Ricardo worked out strenuously to achieve that look. Film clips and shots throughout the episode bolster these claims, as they evidence a man in fine physical shape even into the 1970s.

Montalbán appeared in many diverse films including The Naked Gun as well as two films from both the Planet of the Apes and Spy Kids series. In addition, he appeared in various musicals, such as 1966's The Singing Nun, also starring Debbie Reynolds. Over the course of his long career, he played lead roles or guest starred in dozens of television series. Since 1993, Montalbán had to use a wheelchair after a long-unresolved spinal injury from the 1951 film Across the Wide Missouri recurred. In filming though, Montalban was reportedly thrown off a horse, knocked out, and walked on by another horse, leaving him with a spinal injury that troubled him for the rest of his life and grew more painful as he aged. In 1993, he underwent surgery, but it only made the pain worse. Montalban continued to work, usually delivering his lines from a wheelchair.

Adios, Don Ricardo.


  1. Yes, this is so sad. I thought Montalban was so great in Fantasy Island. He was really was hunky in those days.

  2. He WAS hot! Damn hot.

    May he rest in peace.

    A lovely tribute to him.

  3. in retrospect, i think Dos Equis should have hired Ricardo Montalban to do a few ads for them as their "most interesting man in the world" (he has a Spanish accent too, which fits perfectly)

  4. he was great in wrath of khan,my favorite star trek movie...