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Actor Ricardo Montalban


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'Fantasy Island' Actor Ricardo Montalban

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Ricardo Montalban

LOS ANGELES, California -- Ricardo Montalban, the Mexican-born actor who became a star in splashy MGM musicals and later as the wish-fulfilling Mr. Roarke in TV's "Fantasy Island," died Wednesday, January 14 at his home from complications of advancing age, his son-in-law, Gilbert Smith, said. He was 88.

Montalban's death was first announced at a city council meeting by president Eric Garcetti, who represents the district where the actor lived. "He was so gracious, and Aaron was always humbled by Ricardo's gratitude for 'Fantasy Island,'" said Candy Spelling, wife of the late Aaron Spelling, who created the show. "I miss him already and wish his family well."

Montalban had been a star in Mexican movies when MGM brought him to Hollywood in 1946. He was cast in the leading role opposite Esther Williams in "Fiesta," and starred again with the swimming beauty in "On an Island with You" and "Neptune's Daughter."

But Montalban was best known as the faintly mysterious, white-suited Mr. Roarke, who presided over a tropical island resort where visitors fulfilled their lifelong dreams

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