Ricardo Montalban: The Muy Caliente Mexican-Born Actor Will No Longer Grace The Earth With His Prescence

Ricardo Montalban will no longer grace this earth with his prescence.Most of us only know him as “Mr. Roarke” from “Fantasy Island“. But, Ricardo Montalban already had a long, illustrious career before that show.This stunningly good-looking Mexican-bred actor was already a budding star in his homeland. That’s why he was glad that they didn’t change his name to Ricky Martin. But, one of the main reasons he was glad to be known as Ricardo Montalban is because he was proud of his Mexican heritage.This may be why he did his best to make the Hollywood fantasy translate into an actuality for Latinos,although many say it was to his own detriment. He even created the nonprofit Nosotros Foundation to help Latinos find more employment in Hollwood. Here’s more from the Guardian:

“Ricardo Montalban died on Wednesday at age 88, and we got the news from a local politician who made the announcement at a Los Angeles city council meeting. To those who only knew the Mexican-born actor as the mysterious Mr Roarke of TV’s Fantasy Island or may only remember his purring praise for “soft Corinthian leather” in those old Chrysler commercials, it was just as well.

But to those who recognise that the Emmy-winning icon was a talented but underused actor who persevered through decades of Hollywood bigotry and typecasting with elegance and grace, a trailblazer who jeopardised his own career by advocating for younger generations of Latino actors, it was a meagre send-off. What we’ve lost, simply put, is one of the last remaining Hispanics who first busted through Hollywood’s doors and then struggled not to pay for their audacity with their dignity and cultural identity. “My career has been the constancy of doing the best I could with the role I had,” Montalban once said. “I persevered. That’s the only quality that I recognise in myself.”

Already a Latin American star when he hit Hollywood in the mid 1940s, Montalban could act, dance and sing and showed it off in his first American film, the Mexico-set musical Fiesta. Montalban, born in Mexico of Spanish parents, had style and phenomenal presence. Hollywood, however, was a topsy-turvy world where Latinos – particularly Mexicans – were often portrayed onscreen as “bandits, gigolos, hot señoritas and indolent peons,” as Montalban once put it. Lead Latino characters, such as they were, were often played by white actors. Latino actors were mostly relegated to playing stereotypical ethnic bit roles – everything from filthy Mexican peasants to Japanese soldiers – even if they had the chops to do more. It’s as if they were paying a never-ending string of dues for a reward that rarely came.

Hispanics who succeeded in old Hollywood did so by either passing as Anglos, as in the case of Rita Hayworth – a flamenco-dancer-turned-actress who became a leading lady only after dying her dark hair red and dropping her Spanish father’s last name of Cansino – or by sheer will and the willingness to risk obscurity, as in the case of Puerto Rican actress Rita Moreno. By the time Moreno won a best supporting actress Oscar in 1962 for West Side Story, the actress had endured several demeaning Latin sex-pot roles and, she once told me in an interview, the scorn of racist directors who ignored her on set. After her win, Moreno refused to make a film for seven years. Despite the award, she continued to be offered infuriatingly one-dimensional roles.”(End of Excerpt) Read the rest here:(http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/jan/16/ricardo-motalban-hollywood-latinos

Here are a few other links to articles about Ricardo Montalban:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricardo_Montalban

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-me-montalban15-2009jan15,0,3732229.story

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1 Comment

Filed under Celebrities, People Who Do Us Proud, America

One response to “Ricardo Montalban: The Muy Caliente Mexican-Born Actor Will No Longer Grace The Earth With His Prescence

  1. Ricardo Montalban epitomized the suave host image; i just recently found out he starred in the Wrath of Khan too, crazy

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