Ricardo Montalban

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Ricardo Montalban (1920-2008) talks about his desire to keep his name despite the Hollywood pressure to change it to "Ricky Martin". He recalls appearing in one of the "soundies" of the 1940s— "He's A Latin From Staten Island." He relates his early courting by Hollywood and his eventual signing with MGM. He discusses the Latin stereotype of the Hollywood era and how he wasn't cast in Mexican roles but rather more "exotic" South American "types." He describes touring the country to promote movies, in the studios' attempt to steer the public from television. He speaks about studying acting in the early 1940s with Stanislavsky disciple Seki Sano. He underscores the importance of his work with Sano, who taught him about truth in acting. He describes his appearances on several "live" dramatic television anthologies of the 1950s, including Climax! and The Loretta Young Show. He discusses his recreation of the role of Khan from the 1967 "Space Seed" episode of Star Trek to the 1982 feature film Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, which required him to review his earlier performance to recapture the spirit of the part. He speaks in great detail about the part for which he is most associated, "Mr. Roarke" on Fantasy Island. Regarding this series, he describes Aaron Spelling's concept, the use of Roarke in setting the stage for each episode and the challenges of production. He looks back on his founding of Nosotros, an organization to promote opportunities for Hispanic actors and to help eradicate stereotypical images of them in Hollywood. He describes the organization's goals and how its founding caused him to be blacklisted temporarily from the industry. He also speaks about another of his well-known appearances on television— as spokesman for Chrysler Cordobas in commercials, forever associated with their "rich Corinthian leather." Karen Herman conducted the interview in Century City, CA on August 13, 2002.

"As an actor, you give, you receive. I tried to give affection and respect for everybody on the set, no matter what their position was. We are all human beings and I think that created an atmosphere that was very, very pleasant."

Highlights
Ricardo Montalban on the portrayal of Mexicans in film and television
04:09
Ricardo Montalban on his role of Khan in Star Trek and in the feature film Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
05:25
Ricardo Montlaban on his advice to aspiring actors
01:36
Ricardo Montalban on the founding of Nosotros
10:36
Ricardo Montalban on his Fantasy Island character "Mr. Roarke"
02:02
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years growing up in Mexico
On discovering his passion for theater; coming to the United States, and being signed to a contract at MGM
On working exclusively in films and, after his contract at MGM was over, going into television 
On his first work in television; the portrayal of Mexicans in film and television; and some of his early live television roles on Climax and Playhouse 90

Chapter 2

On losing his contract at MGM and his first work in live television
On his acting training with Seki Sano and his approach to the craft
On substituting for his sister-in-law Loretta Young on The Loretta Young Show
On co-starring in the feature film Fiesta
On his role of Khan in Star Trek and in the feature film Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
On the difficulty of exposition (using an example from Fantasy Island); advice he received from Gene Lockhart

Chapter 3

On his roles in a Here's Lucy episode, Hallmark Hall of Fame's The Fantasticks, and Alice Through the Looking Glass
On his Emmy-winning role as an American Indian in How the West was Won
On guest-starring on The Defenders
On guest-starring on Bonanza and the need to bring dignity to his characters
On starring in Fantasy Island, the genesis of the series, his conception of "Mr. Roarke", and working with Herve Villechaize

Chapter 4

On Herve Villechaize's departure from Fantasy Island and ending the show after seven seasons
On the production aspects of Fantasy Island
On directing two episodes of Fantasy Island
On the guest stars of Fantasy Island, the locations where the show was filmed, his favorite episodes, the shooting of the final episode, and a star's role in creating a good atmosphere on the set

Chapter 5

On the opening sequence of Fantasy Island
On his role of "Zach Powers" on The Colbys
On his roles in Heaven Help Us and Chicago Hope; and the difficulty of getting parts later in his career
On his ads for Chrysler's Cordoba
On the founding of Nosotros; his ads for the Chrysler Cordoba
On his advice to aspiring actors and his thoughts on fame
Shows

Alice Through the Looking Glass

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Ricardo Montalban on co-starring in the TV special Alice Through the Looking Glass (airdate: November 6, 1966)
01:17

Bonanza

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Ricardo Montalban on his guest appearance on Bonanza episode "Day of Reckoning" (airdate: October 22, 1960) and his poor treatment by the cast
03:28

Chicago Hope

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Ricardo Montalban on his guest-starring role on Chicago Hope
01:19

Climax!

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Ricardo Montalban on his first live television appearance on Climax! in the teleplay "Island in the City"
01:21
Ricardo Montalban on training to fire a gun to synchronize with the shot in his live appearance on Climax! in the teleplay "The Mojave Kid"
04:15
Ricardo Montalban on one of his first television roles in the Climax teleplay "The Mojave Kid"
01:52

Colbys, The

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Ricardo Montalban on his disappointment on starring in The Colbys
02:21
Ricardo Montalban on his character "Zack Powers" on The Colbys
01:28

Defenders, The

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Ricardo Montalban on his guest appearance on The Defenders episode "Whitewash" (airdate: December 10, 1964)
01:37

Fantasy Island

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Ricardo Montalban on the way of doing exposition on Fantasy Island
01:16
Ricardo Montalban on the genesis of Fantasy Island
03:40
Ricardo Montalban on his Fantasy Island character "Mr. Roarke"
02:02
Ricardo Montalban on the character of "Mr. Roarke" and how Fantasy Island changed for him after the first season
02:41
Ricardo Montalban on the Fantasy Island character "Tattoo" and actor Herve Villechaize
02:18
Ricardo Montalban on Herve Villechaize's departure from Fantasy Island
04:59
Ricardo Montalban on the decision to end Fantasy Island after seven seasons
01:22
Ricardo Montalban on the production aspects of Fantasy Island
06:31
Ricardo Montalban on directing two episodes of Fantasy Island
03:21
Ricardo Montalban on the guest stars on Fantasy Island
06:06
Ricardo Montalban on location filming on Fantasy Island 
03:30
Ricardo Montalban on the last day of shooting Fantasy Island and the importance of the star in creating a good atmopshere on the set
03:30
Ricardo Montalban on the opening sequence of Fantasy Island
01:27

Hallmark Hall of Fame

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Ricardo Montalban on co-starring in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of The Fantasticks (airdate: October 18, 1964)
02:03

Here's Lucy

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Ricardo Montalban on guest starring (as Prince Phillip Gregory Hennepin Of Montalbania) on Here's Luc y in the episode "Lucy and Her Prince Charming" (airdate: November 27, 1972)
00:36

How the West was Won

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Ricardo Montalban on his Emmy-winning performance as an American Indian in How the West was Won (1978)
03:54

Loretta Young Show, The

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Ricardo Montalban on substituting for his sister-in-law Loretta Young on The Loretta Young Show
05:04

Playhouse 90

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Ricardo Montalban on appearing in the Playhouse 90 teleplay "Child of Trouble"
01:14

Schlitz Playhouse of Stars aka Celebrity Playhouse

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Ricardo Montalban on actor Joseph Schilkraut's nervousness during a Schlitz Playhouse production
01:07

Star Trek

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Ricardo Montalban on his role of Khan in Star Trek and in the feature film Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
05:25
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

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Ricardo Montalban on the Fantasy Island character "Tattoo" and actor Herve Villechaize
02:18

Diversity in Television

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Ricardo Montalban on his Emmy-winning performance as an American Indian in How the West was Won
03:54
Ricardo Montalban on playing his characters with dignity
01:12
Ricardo Montalban on the founding of Nosotros
10:36

Emmy Awards

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Ricardo Montalban on his Emmy-winning performance as an American Indian in How the West was Won
03:54

Minorities

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Ricardo Montalban on the portrayal of Mexicans in film and television
04:09
Ricardo Montalban on Gene Lockhart's advice to him about maintaining an acting career
01:51
Ricardo Montalban on his Emmy-winning performance as an American Indian in How the West was Won
03:54
Ricardo Montalban on playing his characters with dignity
01:12
Ricardo Montalban on the founding of Nosotros
10:36

Pop Culture

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Ricardo Montalban on the Fantasy Island character "Tattoo" and actor Herve Villechaize
02:18
Ricardo Montalban on his ads for Chrysler's Cordoba
01:22
Ricardo Montalban on the opening sequence of Fantasy Island
01:27

TV Theme Songs

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Ricardo Montalban on the opening sequence of Fantasy Island
01:27
Professions

Actor

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Ricardo Montalban on his acting training 
09:49
Ricardo Montalban on the way of doing exposition on Fantasy Island
01:16
Ricardo Montalban on Gene Lockhart's advice to him about maintaining an acting career
01:51
Ricardo Montalban on the last day of shooting Fantasy Island and the importance of the star in creating a good atmopshere on the set
02:22
Ricardo Montlaban on his advice to aspiring actors
01:36
Genres

Commercials

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Ricardo Montalban on his ads for Chrysler's Cordoba
01:22

Western Series

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Ricardo Montalban on his Emmy-winning performance as an American Indian in How the West was Won (1978)
03:54
People

Lew Ayres

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Ricardo Montalban on directing two episodes of Fantasy Island
03:21

Lucille Ball

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Ricardo Montalban on guest starring (as Prince Phillip Gregory Hennepin Of Montalbania) on Here's Luc y in the episode "Lucy and Her Prince Charming" (airdate: November 27, 1972)
00:36

Harve Bennett

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Ricardo Montalban on his role of Khan in Star Trek and in the feature film Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
05:25

Joan Blondell

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Ricardo Montalban on appearing in the Playhouse 90 teleplay "Child of Trouble"
01:14

Christopher Hewett

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Ricardo Montalban on Herve Villechaize's departure from Fantasy Island
04:59

E. G. Marshall

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Ricardo Montalban on his guest appearance on The Defenders episode "Whitewash" (airdate: December 10, 1964)
01:37

Roddy McDowall

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Ricardo Montalban on the guest stars on Fantasy Island
06:06

Nicholas Meyer

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Ricardo Montalban on his role of Khan in Star Trek and in the feature film Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
05:25

Merle Oberon

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Ricardo Montalban on substituting for his sister-in-law Loretta Young on The Loretta Young Show
05:04

Jack Palance

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Ricardo Montalban on co-starring in the TV special Alice Through the Looking Glass (airdate: November 6, 1966)
01:17

Seki Sano

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Ricardo Montalban on studying with dialogue coach Seki Sano during the filming of the feature film Five Were Chosen
09:49

Wendy Schaal

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Ricardo Montalban on the guest stars on Fantasy Island
06:06

George Schaefer

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Ricardo Montalban on co-starring in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of The Fantasticks (airdate: October 18, 1964)
02:03

Joseph Schildkraut

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Ricardo Montalban on actor Joseph Schilkraut's nervousness during a Schlitz Playhouse production
01:07

Aaron Spelling

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Ricardo Montalban on the genesis of Fantasy Island
03:40

Barbara Stanwyck

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Ricardo Montalban on his disappointment on starring in The Colbys
02:21

Herve Villechaize

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Ricardo Montalban on the Fantasy Island character "Tattoo" and actor Herve Villechaize
02:18
Ricardo Montalban on Herve Villechaize's departure from Fantasy Island
04:59

John Wayne

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Ricardo Montalban on his Emmy-winning performance as an American Indian in How the West was Won (1978)
03:54

Orson Welles

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Ricardo Montalban on the genesis of Fantasy Island
03:40

Loretta Young

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Ricardo Montalban on substituting for his sister-in-law Loretta Young on The Loretta Young Show
05:04

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