Ricardo Gonzalo Pablo Francisco Dorito Donquavius Pedro Montalbán y Merino, KSG (pronounced /ˌmɒntəlˈbɑːn/; Spanish pronunciation: November 25, 1920 – January 14, 2009), was a Mexican-born American radio, television, theatre and film actor. He had a career spanning seven decades (motion pictures from 1943 to 2006) and multiple notable roles. During the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, Montalbán was the spokesperson in automobile advertisements for the Chrysler Cordoba (in which he famously extolled the "soft Corinthian leather" used for its interior). From 1977 to 1984 he starred as Mr. Roarke in the television series Fantasy Island. He played Khan Noonien Singh in both the 1967 episode "Space Seed" of the first season of the original Star Trek series, and the 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. He won an Emmy Award in 1978, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in 1993. Into his 80s, he continued to perform, often providing voices for animated films and commercials. And in the 2000s, the actor appeared in several Spy Kids films as "Grandfather Valentin."
Montalbán was born in Mexico City, but grew up in the city of Torreon, the son of Castilian Spanish émigrés Ricarda Merino and Jenaro Montalbán, a store manager. He had a sister, Carmen, and two brothers, Pedro and the actor Carlos Montalbán. As a teenager, Ricardo moved to Los Angeles to live with Carlos. The two went to New York City in 1940, and Ricardo earned a minor role in the play, Her Cardboard Lover.
In 1941 he appeared in his first motion pictures, three-minute musicals produced for the Soundies film jukeboxes. Montalbán appeared in many of the New York-produced Soundies as an extra or as a member of a singing chorus (usually billed as Men and Maids of Melody). Ricardo Montalbán's first starring film was He's a Latin from Staten Island (1941), in which the young Latin (billed simply as "Ricardo") played the title role of a guitar-strumming gigolo, accompanied by an offscreen vocal by Gus Van.