Richardo Montalban might have gone his entire acting career as an “ethnic” character actor whose face was known by anyone who watched TV (“Hey, it's that guy again — you know, he's in everything”) but whose talent remained unappreciated. Yet he edged into the consciousness of the American Living Room through performances in two unlikely venues — that of Star Trek's greatest villain, Khan, and memorable, if much-parodied, television spot for Chrysler's Cordorba (“I request nothing beyond the thickly cushioned luxury of seats available even in soft Corinthian leather.”)
An Associated Press obituary, picked up by the L.A. Daily News,
noted that the Mexican-born Montalban, unhappy that Hispanic characters
were little more than urban stereotypes or gun targets in Westerns,
became a driving force in creating a Latino theater in Los Angeles.
Hollywood's small-venue Nosotros Theater Company and the mid-sized
Ricardo Montalban Theater were both the results of his efforts — work
that now must be continued by his inheritors if his vision is to live