Wrath of Khan's Ricardo Montalban is dead at 88

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Ricardo Montalban, the Mexican-born actor who became famous as the wish-fulfilling Mr. Roarke in TV's Fantasy Island and secured his place in the sci-fi hall of fame as the title character in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, died Wednesday morning at his home, a Los Angeles city councilman told the Associated Press. He was 88.

Montalban's death was announced at a city council meeting by president Eric Garcetti, who represents the district where the actor lived. Garcetti did not give a cause of death, the AP reported.

A veteran of films and TV, Montalban made an indelible mark among sci-fans as the villainous superhuman Khan in 1982's Wrath of Khan, one of the franchise's most beloved installments. Montalban reprised a role he originated in the original Trek series episode "Space Seed."

Montalban had been a star in Mexican movies when MGM brought him to Hollywood in 1946.

Montalban was also well known as Fantasy Island's mysterious, white-suited Mr. Roarke, who presided over a tropical island resort where visitors were able to fulfill their lifelong dreams—usually at the unexpected expense of a difficult life lesson. The show ran from 1978 to 1984.

Fantasy Island received high ratings for most of its run on ABC, and it still appears in reruns.

Montalban's film roles included Escape From the Planet of the Apes and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, in which he played a circus owner who takes in and mentors the young chimpanzee Caesar.