There are very few actors out there who I would refer to as being the epitome of cool. One that falls in that category is Billy Dee Williams. James Earl Jones would be another. Besides them, the only other one that immediately comes to mind was Ricardo Montalban. It's very unfortunate that we had to indicate him as "was".
Mr. Montalban died Wednesday morning in his home. Cause of death has not been made public as of yet. He was 88-years-old.
I had just been thinking about him the other day. Actually, I've been inadvertently reminded of him every day on my drive home. I keep hearing a radio ad about some cat who has a cable show about house-flipping whose name sounds eerily close to Montalban's. I always wondered if it's the guy's real name or if he purposely changed it to sound so similar to get that name recognition.
At any rate, I don't know of anyone from my generation that doesn't remember the stellar hit "Fantasy Island". It was a Saturday night staple coming on right after "The Love Boat". I watched it religiously to see what fantasy would get fulfilled next, what corny lines Tattoo would come up with, but also to admire how suave Mr. Roarke was. That cat could sell ice to an Eskimo he was so dang smooth.
Some of you dedicated readers might also remember how one of his films, "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan", made my Vault Pick of the Week. It was primarily because of Montalban. As far as I'm concerned, his role in that film helped to keep the "Star Trek" franchise alive because that first installment was abysmal at best. Montalban brought his effervescent coolness to Khan and twisted it just a bit to create one of the greatest on-screen villains ever.
Thanks for all the sophistication you brought to every screen you graced, Mr. Roarke. May you rest in peace.