Ricardo Montalban Net Worth at Death – Salary, Income, Wife

Ricardo Montalban Net Worth

Ricardo Montalban had an estimated net worth of $12 million at death. Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán y Merino, known as Ricardo Montalbán , was a Mexican television, theater, and film actor. He was best known for playing the villainous titular character in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which debuted in a 1967 episode of the sci-fi series.

In a 1975 television commercial, he became a memorable spokesman for the Chrysler Cordoba, spawning a sort of catchphrase when he praised the interior’s “soft Corinthian leather.”

Montalbán continued to work professionally into his 80s, providing voices for animated films and commercials and starring as Grandfather Valentin in the Spy Kids franchise.

To calculate the net worth of Ricardo Montalban, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets.

All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities. 

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: Ricardo Montalban
Net Worth: $12 Million
Monthly Salary: $100 Thousand
Annual Income: $2 Million
Source of Wealth: Actor, Spokesperson, Voice Actor

Learn More: Top 30 Richest People In The World

Early Life

On November 25, 1920, Ricardo Montalban was born in Mexico City, the youngest of four children to Castilian Spanish immigrants Ricarda Merino and Jenaro Montalbán.

His father ran a dry goods store. Montalbán moved to Los Angeles as a teen, where he lived with his much older brother Carlos Montalbán, who was then pursuing a career in show business as an actor and dancer.

Ricardo attended Fairfax High School in Hollywood and was noticed in a student play but declined a screen test.

Instead, he traveled to New York with his brother, where he landed a bit part in Tallulah Bankhead’s stage vehicle “Her Cardboard Lover” in 1940, followed by roles in the plays “Our Betters” and “Private Affair.”


In 1975, Erik Estrada as Frank Poncherello on CHiPs became the first Latin actor to land a series-lead since Desi Arnaz on I Love Lucy.

Around the same time, veteran Latin leading man Ricardo Montalban (who died in 2009) was making headway with his legendary performance as the mysterious but ever-dapper Mr. Roark on TV’s Fantasy Island (ABC, 1977–1984) years after his debut as the diabolical Khan in the 1967 “Space Seed” segment of the original Star Trek.

Rick Lertzman comments on the diverse and significant career of Montalban, who was born Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán y Merino, on November 25, 1920, in Mexico City, Mexico:

Ricardo Montalban was a film star for several decades when in 1977 he starred as Mr. Roarke in the Aaron Spelling television series, Fantasy Island. Herve Villechaize portrayed his sidekick, Tattoo. The series, which endured [on ABC] for seven years [until 1984], was immensely popular.

Montalban, who was born in Mexico, was proud of his Latino heritage. He founded the Nosotros (“We”) Foundation in 1970 to advocate for Latino actors.

He also was known to a generation of Star Trek followers for his role as Khan Noonien Singh in the Star Trek TV series and the [1982] film, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. He also became identified as the longtime spokesperson for the Chrysler automobile, the Cordoba, and was remembered for his unique pronunciation of its “soft Corinthian leather.”

Twenty years after Wrath’s debut, Paramount Studios presented in Hollywood a special twentieth-anniversary screening of the movie, hosted by the film’s director, Nicholas Meyer, featuring a special guest appearance by Montalban who by then was in a wheelchair.

For years, many of his fans were unaware that he was fitted with an artificial leg. But at the time he attended this special event, his increased disability did not detract from his charisma and still potent ability to connect with his multitude of admirers.

The press had documented his appearance as a monumental moment in entertainment history, one that will most likely never be repeated again, certainly not in today’s TV environment.

Beyond his Trek and Fantasy performances, Montalban (who was married to the same woman, Georgiana Beltzer, from 1944 to his death in 2007) made countless other appearances on the big and small screens, including a guest-shot on an episode of TV’s The Name of the Game, which originally aired on NBC from 1968 to 1971.

This series, one of the more unique entries in TV history, featured a rotating cast, like that of the network’s original Sunday Mystery Movie wheel of shows (1971–1977, including McMillan & Wife, Columbo, and McCloud, among others). Unlike those showcased on the Mystery series, the revolving weekly characters on Game (which also happened to air on Sundays) were interlocked by a singular plot device: They worked alternately for a publishing firm in Los Angeles.

A set number of characters were played by Robert Stack (post–The Untouchables), Gene Barry (post–Burke’s Law), and Tony Franciosa (pre–Matt Helm).

Montalban appeared in one of the Stack segments called “Echo of a Nightmare,” an average story (about a kidnapper freed from prison) that was outweighed by another one of Ricardo’s above-average performances. Yet, his Game performance is noteworthy not only due to his stellar talents, but because of his mere participation. While filming the Game Montalban was in his forties.

Years later, when he was Mr. Roark on Fantasy Island, and returned to playing Trek’s Khan (in Wrath), he was by then a senior citizen in his late fifties and early sixties. As a disabled Latino senior, he was three times a minority, but still an outstanding sought-after actor—as well as a male TV icon.

He once said, “Hollywood does not write parts for people like me, an elderly gentleman, and when they find out you’re crippled, forget about it. No, I’ll never work again.”

But he continues to work. His energy never wavered, and he was never defined by his disabilities, which were surpassed by his abilities.

He had a strength of character in his very being that he carried with grace and elegance throughout his entire life, a trait which he credited to his mother and father. “There couldn’t be better parents than mine,” he said, “loving yet strict. They disciplined with love. A child without discipline is, in a way, a lost child. You cannot have freedom without discipline.”

Such discipline paved the way for substantial success, spanning decades, from countless Latin and American motion pictures in the 40s and 50s, to countless more TV performances throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond. As he also said, “It is to TV that I owe my freedom from bondage of the Latin lover roles. Television came along and gave me parts to chew on. It gave me wings as an actor.”

Montalban was an Emmy Award winner for his role in the miniseries How the West Was Won (1976) and a notable villain in the Dynasty (1981) spin-off series The Colbys (1985).

He was also famous for a series of television commercials in which he returned somewhat to his “Latin lover” persona, primarily in a series of slick commercials for Chrysler’s Cordoba automobile, pitching the elegant auto with its “rich, Corinthian leather”.

Learn More: Top 30 Richest People In The World

Personal Life & Wife

In 1944, Montalbán married Georgiana Young, an actress and model. Together they had four children Laura, Mark, Anita, and Victor. 

Young died in November 2007 after 63 years of marriage. She passed away one year and two months before Montalbán’s.


Montalbán died on January 14, 2009, at the age of 88, at his home in Los Angeles. Gilbert Smith, his son-in-law, said he died of “complications from advancing age.” Congestive heart failure was determined to be the exact cause of death.

Ricardo Montalban Quotes

True love doesn’t happen right away; it’s an ever-growing process. It develops after you’ve gone through many ups and downs, when you’ve suffered together, cried together, laughed together.

Ricardo Montalban


Politics is too partisan, and sometimes patriotism is cast aside. Patriotism is honor and love of your country and your brothers and sisters. With politics I get the impression that it’s all about what’s good for the party and not necessarily what’s good for the country.

Ricardo Montalban


And yet I think of Christopher Reeve who said he would pay two million dollars to be able to feel pain again. What a courageous man! So I have to think that pain is a blessing.

Ricardo Montalban


Ask not what the role can do for you; ask what you can do for the role.

Ricardo Montalban


Because we should always respect other nationalities, I have always tried to play them with dignity.

Ricardo Montalban


I found enormous opposition to my religion. It’s like if you want to strengthen your biceps, you lift heavy weight, as heavy as you can handle, and work your muscles against resistance until it grows strong. I had to do that with my religion.

Ricardo Montalban


If you shake your fist, the other guy will shake his too. But if you extend your hand to shake their hand, then they will extend theirs also, and you’ve made a friend.

Ricardo Montalban


Standing on soil feels so much different than standing on city pavement; it lets you look inward and reflect and see who you really are, while you see a beautiful, unspoiled land as far as the eye can see. It allows your inner life to grow.

Ricardo Montalban

View our larger collection of the best Ricardo Montalban quotes.

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