Fall / Winter 2022

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132 SAG-AFTRA | Fall/Winter 2022 | A s Star Trek villain Khan Noonien Singh, in both the 1967 "Space Seed" episode of the original TV series and an even larger-than-life resurrection of the character in 1982's feature film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Ricardo Montalbán was unforgettable. In real life, through his vast humanitarian works, he was even more impressive. In April 1960, during the Screen Actors Guild's theatrical strike, in the final months of Ronald Reagan's SAG presidency, Montalbán became a National Board member and would serve until November 1971, including six terms as 3rd vice president. In September 1962, he was one of six National Board members appointed to a committee to create an award that, the board noted could "… give consideration to the possibility of honoring at the annual meeting some of the industry's past 'greats' who have been of service to the Guild, such as Eddie Cantor, who served as the second president of the Guild at a most crucial period." From that committee was born what would become the SAG Life Achievement Award, and three decades later, Montalbán himself received the recognition from his union peers. The SAG Honors and Tributes Committee booklet of potential candidates lauded Montalbán as "… the first Hispanic celebrity to support the fight against AIDS (in 1980), and he has also raised money for or personally contributed to the American Lung and Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Breast Cancer Association, AHORA Responds to AIDS, Mexico Earthquake Relief Fund …" The list exceeded two dozen organizations. Always working to expand acting opportunities and better roles for Latino actors, in 1970 he helped found Nosotros, a Latino arts advocacy organization. He told Drama-Logue in January 1989, "I talked to producers and writers and told them I thought it was demeaning the way they were portraying us. It showed a terrible picture of us. I realized what they wanted to do was make pictures 'colorful.' I never got the feeling it was prejudice or done to hurt. It was total ignorance, which is just as bad. It was ignorance of what they thought we were. That's why we founded Nosotros." In 1992, he shared with Screen Actor magazine his belief about the need for more Hispanic screenwriters to solve the problem: "We have not developed enough writers. 'What is not on the page is not on the stage.' This is an area where we should be concentrating our efforts because the good Anglo-Saxon writers, though well-intentioned to write about us, do not know how. We become stereotypes even when they're trying to flatter us." Ricardo Montal … Khaaaan! SAG-AFTRA ARCHIVES Top, known to a generation as Mr. Roarke on Fantasy Island (1977-1984), Montalbán graces the cover of the winter 1993 issue of Screen Actor. Above, a 1970 article in the Fullerton, California, News Tribune about Montalbán's efforts to fight stereotypical portrayals of Latin Americans. Right, Montalbán in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Ricardo Montalbán in a 1940s publicity photo. SAG-AFTRA ARCHIVES BRUCE BIRMELIN / PARAMOUNT PICTURES

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