"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
Ricardo Montalban (1920-2008) was interviewed for two-and-a-half hours in Century City, CA. Montalban talked about his desire to keep his name despite the Hollywood pressure to change it to "Ricky Martin". He talked about appearing in one of the "soundies" of the 1940s— He's A Latin From Staten Island. He related his early courting by Hollywood and his eventual signing with MGM. He discussed the Latin stereotype of the Hollywood era and how he wasn't cast in Mexican roles but rather more "exotic" South American "types." He described touring the country to promote movies, in the studios' attempt to steer the public from television. He spoke about studying acting in the early 1940s with Stanislavsky disciple Seki Sano. He underscored the importance of his work with Sano, who taught him about truth in acting. He described his appearances on several "live" dramatic television anthologies of the 1950s, including Climax! and The Loretta Young Show. He discussed 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 spoke in great detail about the part for which he is most associated, "Mr. Roarke" on Fantasy Island. For this series, he described Aaron Spelling's concept, the use of Roarke in setting the stage for each episode, and the challenges of production. He looked 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 described the organizations goals and how its founding caused him to be blacklisted temporarily from the industry. He also spoke about another of his well-known appearances on television— as spokesman for Chrysler Cordobas in commercials, forever associated with their "rich Corinthian leather." The interview was conducted by Karen Herman on August 13, 2002.