Yesterday was a heavy business day so I'm late on the news.
The most important movie item yesterday was the passing of Ricardo Montalban (pictured left, source). He was 88 years old when he passed away on Wednesday. His greatest fame came in the 80s from television. You may remember him as either "Mr. Roarke" on Fantasy Island, "Zach Powers" on Dynasty spinoff The Colbys or as the title villain in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) --the only Star Trek outing I've ever loved and largely thanks to him. Khan was a character he was reprising from a guest stint on the 60s television show and yes, that was his real chest in the movie. He was eating his spinach as a sexagenarian.
Like many actors who get choice supporting roles in genre movies and/or television stardom in their senior years, Montalban was already famous. He'd been both a working Broadway actor and a movie star in Mexico. Fiesta (1947) was the big breakthrough and like many bilingual foreign actors before him, Hollywood snapped him up. He became a contract player in the studio system.
His American movie career peaked in the 1950s when Montalban was in his 30s and often cast for his physicality and exotic beauty (Hollywood used to have a new ubiquitous 'Latin Lover' every decade, didn't they?). He starred in films like The Mark of the Renegade (1951) with Cyd Charisse, Latin Lovers (1953) with Lana Turner and Sayonara (1957) with Marlon Brando for which he won his only big screen acting nomination, the Golden Laurel (from an awards group that was short lived, lasting from 1958 through 1971). He lost that award to his co-star Red Buttons who also went on to win the Oscar. Montalban was not nominated though his three co-stars were (It's hard for a single film to achieve four acting nominations -- only 34 films have done so in the 80 year history of the Oscars). Still and all, this was a long and rich entertainment career stretching across multiple mediums and making things easier for future generations of Latino actors. Well done!