"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."
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.