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Ricardo Montalban, RIP Age 88

Ricardo Montalban, the suave leading man who was one of the first Mexican-born actors to make it big in Hollywood and who was best known for his roles as Mr. Roarke on ABC’s “Fantasy Island” and the villainous Khan of the “Star Trek” franchise, died Wednesday. He was 88.

800_1976chryslercordobasportcoupeSo says the SanFran Chron. [1] The guy had a practied smoothness that even even his “Khan” persona wouldn’t override.

I couldn’t resist putting this pic up for a couple of reasons. First of all because it was an ad campaign that made the most use out of his smoothness, and played off of the idea of European elegance, which he simply exuded in no small amounts.

But more, I actually drove one of these, back in the early eighties.. a Chrysler Cordoba.   Same color, too, though the roof was white vinyl, not the maroon pictured here.  Got it used.  I rather enjoyed it, actually.  I know automotive purists will cringe at that, but it was a fun car.  Mine had a police special 440 that somebody  crammed into it,  so “Go” was no problem. Yikes!, but that thing would go.  Had all the toys, too, including the leathers seats.   Being a GM man, you can imagine the car had to feel like something special for me to even consider buying it.  For all that, I never did figure out what in the hell “Rich Corinthian Leather” was.

Truth to tell, I wasn’t even aware Montalban was still alive.  He’s one of those people that I’ve lost track of because he just kind of faded into the woodwork for so many years.  The man was Hollywood, back in the day, though.