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Patrick Macnee
Antonio Margheriti
Chris Marker
Hugh Marlowe
William Marshall
Arlene Martel
Ross Martin
Richard Matheson
Sir Paul McCartney
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Leo McKern
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Agnes Moorhead
Billy Mumy
Eddie Murphy
 
MONTALBAN, RICARDO
(1920–2009). Mexican actor.

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR FILM CREDITS
Acted in: Hamlet, Prinz von Dänemark (voice, English version) (tv movie) (Franz Peter Wirth 1961); "The Dove Affair" (1964), "The King of Diamonds Affair" (1966), episodes of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; Alice through the Looking Glass (Alan Handley 1966); "The Night of the Lord of Limbo" (1966), episode of The Wild, Wild West; "Space Seed" (1967), episode of Star Trek; "Snowball in Hell" (1967), episode of Mission Impossible; The Aquarians (tv movie) (Don McDougall 1970); Escape from the Planet of the Apes (Don Taylor 1971); Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (J. Lee Thompson 1972); Wonder Woman (tv movie) (Vincent McEveety 1974); Fantasy Island (tv movie) (Richard Lang 1977); Return to Fantasy Island (tv movie) (George McCowan 1978) Fantasy Island (tv series) (1978-1984); Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Nicolas MEYER 1982); Star Trek 25th Anniversary Special (documentary) (Donald R. Beck 1991); Heaven Help Us (tv series) (1994); Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (Robert Rodriguez 2002);  Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (Rodriguez 2003).

Provided voice for animated films:"The Chip, Part 1," "The Chip, Part 2/Freakazoid Is History" (1995), "The Wrath of Guitierrez," "Hero Boy" (1996), "Normadeus" (1997), episodes of Freakazoid!;  "Charity" (1998), episode of Adventures from the Book of Virtues;  "Lone Wolf" (2000), episode of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command;  "The New Ron" (2002), "Animal Attraction," "Two to Tutor" (2003), "The Cupid Effect," "The Big Job" (2007), episodes of Kim Possible; "The Missing Piece" (2002), episode of Dora the Explorer; The Ant Bully (John A. Davis 2006);  "McStroke" (2008), episode of Family Guy;  "Moon Over Isla Island" (2009), episode of American Dad.

 
With a different producer, and different writers, Fantasy Island might have been a fascinating program; a team of Gene RODDENBERRY and Rod SERLING, for example, would have found many intriguing stories to tell about an enigmatic rogue apparently gifted with the magical power to make people's dreams come true. But even science fiction critics must avoid indulging in pleasant fantasies and instead face sad realities—in this case, that Fantasy Island was produced by Aaron Spelling, written by nonentities, and little more than a tedious, inane spectacle that somehow kept attracting undemanding viewers for six execrable seasons. And, one of the many talented performers that it wasted was its star, Ricardo Montalban, who somehow managed to convey a certain air of charm and mystery as the mysterious Mr. Roarke even while coping with some of the stupidest scripts even foisted upon television viewers. It is hardly surprising that his work for the series was underappreciated, yet as is sometimes the case, one gains new respect for an actor after observing somebody else attempt his part—in this case, Malcolm MCDOWELL in the insufferable revival of the series [1998-1999], whom no sane person would prefer to the original.

After immigrating to Los Angeles as a teenager, Montalban first achieved a sort of stardom by returning to Mexico to appear in various undistinguished films, before he was summoned back to America to function as a Hollywood version of the Latin lover. But as he matured, he found that his heavy accent and rugged good looks were mostly wanted for westerns, with occasional crime dramas. Only in his forties did he begin drifting into occasional genre roles in series like The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Wild Wild West, and Mission: Impossible, usually as a villain. But he distinguished himself in the Star Trek episode, "Space Seed," where he was evocative and ambiguously heroic as a genetically-engineered superman, both arrogant and admirable. In a series much given to unproblematic melodrama, Montalban's Khan was one of the few roles that defied easy categorization. Unfortunately, the role was coarsened into routine villainy for his return in the second Star Trek film, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, and his performance therein was less than remarkable.

His other noteworthy work during his later years included two appearances as a sympathetic human in Escape from the Planet of the Apes and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes; a return to a Roarke-like role as an angel in the short-lived series Heaven Help Us; and a display of avuncular warmth as the grandfather in two sequels to the original Spy Kids, though his final decade mostly involved forgettable chores as a voice for animated cartoons. Outside the scope of this volume, he also had recurring roles in the series Dynasty (1981-1989) and The Colbys (1985-1987) and starred in a series of frequently-parodied car commercials, But as noted in obituaries after his death in 2009, his most enduring contribution to cinema may be his arduous efforts to encourage Hollywood to offer more suitable roles for Hispanic and Latino actors; and the problem he confronted might be best illustrated by the fact that the most famous performances by this obviously Hispanic actor were as men named Roarke and Khan.

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