'Smiles, everyone... smiles!'
Say what you like about Bill Cosby, Heather Locklear or ... god forbid... Bronson Pinchot, but to me, the face of TV in the 80s -- especially the early 80s -- was Ricardo Montalban, who turns 86 years old today.
Montalban's career stretched from the 1940s to the present day, where he's most often found doing voice work for animated features ("Ant Bully" was his latest). But his two signature pieces of work have to be Fantasy Island (1978-1984) and 1982's Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Kahn.
Some trivia about Montalban:
- Montalban originated the character Khan Noonien Singh in a 1966 episode of Stak Trek on TV.
- He loved the Khan character so much, he agreed to reprise it in the 1982 movie for only $100,000.
- Fantasy Island was revived by ABC in 1998, with Malcolm McDowell playing the role of Mr. Rourke. To contrast with Montalban, McDowell wore a black suit.
Top 5 favorite Ricardo Montalban quotes:
5. "From hell's heart, I stab at thee. For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee." (Star Trek 2)
4. "Let them eat static." (Star Trek 2)
3. "You're asking me to risk imprisonment for the sake of two fugitive apes? The answer is- a thousand times- YES!" (Escape from the Planet of the Apes)
2. "Kirk. You're still alive, old friend." (Star Trek 2)
1. "Smiles, everyone... smiles!" (Fantasy Island)