Death of a Class Act

Ricardo Montalban, who died Jan. 14 at age 88, was a class act.

He says in the interview, “I never had a great role.” But he was a cool guy who did cool things, from “The Saracen Blade” to a “Planet of the Apes” to Khan, whose wrath he made legendary. He was also in Fantasy Island, but my parents didn’t let me watch that.

He refused to take the name Ricky Martin at the beginning of his career. A good call, as it turns out.

In the words of The L.A. Times obit he was “incredibly handsome, giving style and dignity to all of his roles. A marvelous camera face, the physique of a trained dancer, talent, a fine voice (he could even sing), warmth and great charm, he seemed to have everything, always elegantly attired in a white suit and black tie.”

But you’ve got to love the way the obit ends its homage to the narrator of a famous Fatima documentary:

“Judd Bernard, his publicist in the mid-1950s told The Times, Montalban ‘was the kindest man, with a lovely sense of humor, a religious man, a marvelous family man.’

“Deeply spiritual, Montalban once said his Catholic faith was the guiding force in his life. He married his frequent co-star Loretta Young’s sister, Georgiana Belzer, a model, in 1944, a marriage that lasted 63-years, and of whom in 2004 he said, ‘She is the only love of my life.’”

Nicely done, Ricardo. We’ll pray for your soul to make it the rest of the way home.

— Tom Hoopes