REFLECTIONS: A Life in Two Worlds by Ricardo with Bob Thomas Montalban

REFLECTIONS: A Life in Two Worlds

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It's the superimposed dramatic device that stultifies an otherwise genuine voice here: actor Ricardo Montalban reflects on the central paradox of his life--family and faith vs. Hollywood plasticity--in the midst of a weekend retreat with the Jesuits. This leaves us with lots of details about his daily retreat schedule and the gist of several homilies, but a distasteful sense that Montalban is (unwittingly?) using God to peddle books. Then there is the seesaw flashback and flash-forward effect: Mama and Papa, we learn, married out of romantic passion in Spain, Papa died 53 years later in Mexico--and then it's back to young Ricardo trying to follow in his father's commercial footsteps as an apprentice in a dry goods store. An older brother got him to Hollywood and New York; but Mama's illness recalled him to Mexico, where he was quite content to star in Spanish-language films until Hollywood beckoned in earnest. An MGM contract player for eight years, miscast in musicals and B movies, he married Loretta Young's half-sister and produced four children. Montalban ticks off his films and filmland friends with a half-interested hand: even Fantasy Island gets little more than nominal mention. He's more enthusiastic about juxtaposing homespun philosophies on smoking and alcohol abuse, on discipline in child-rearing, or just on living: ""The moment is everything."" Montalban sounds as gracious as his fans would expect--he scarcely has a bad word for anyone--but this is not the kind of memoir to attract attention outside that limited circle.

Pub Date: March 7th, 1980
Publisher: Doubleday