The legendary film and television actor was already a star in his native Mexico when he was discovered by an American producer in 1942. Montalban became a popular contract actor for MGM from 1945 to 1955, and he starred with Hollywood's most glamorous leading ladies. In the late 1970's, Montalban emerged as a television icon, playing the distinguished "Mr. Roarke" of Fantasy Island fame for seven years.
In 1970 Montalban founded an organization called Nosotros to improve the image of Latinos and Hispanics in the entertainment industry, both in front and behind the camera, and to expand their employment opportunities in the industry. In 2004 the Ricardo Montalban Theatre opened in Hollywood to serve as a training ground for visionary artists and talents. It is the first major theater facility in the United States to carry the name of a Latino artist.