The Fantasy Island star "will be missed," his son-in-law tells PEOPLE

By Oliver Jones
January 14, 2009 05:20 PM
Mark Sullivan/WireImage

Ricardo Montalban, the velvet voiced Mexican born actor who greeted the plane as Mr. Roarke on Fantasy Island, died in his Beverly Hills home Wednesday. He was 88.

His son-in-law Gilbert Smith tells PEOPLE that Montalban had been in declining health for months and died from “complications of advancing age.”

“He was in peace,” said Smith, who said that the actor was surrounded by his children and grandchildren. “He will be missed,” added Smith.

Born in Mexico City and partially educated in the U.S., Montalban began his career in the early ’40s playing bit parts on Broadway and lead roles in films from his native country. In 1947, MGM brought him to Hollywood to be a romantic lead.

While he enjoyed a long career in film, he became an icon both as the white-suited Roarke, the star of the high rated ABC drama, and as Kahn, Captain Kirk’s nemesis in the 1982 film Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn. Younger audiences know him as Grandpa Cortez in the Spy Kids films.

Montalban was proceeded in death by one year by his wife of 63 years, Gorgiana Young, the younger sister of his frequent co-star Loretta Young.

“[She is] the only love of my life,” the actor said in 2004.

He is survived by four children and six grandchildren.