Anthony Quinn

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Anthony Quinn (2000)

Anthony Quinn (actually Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca ; born April 21, 1915 in Chihuahua , Mexico , † June 3, 2001 in Boston , Massachusetts ) was a Mexican -American film actor . Especially during the 1950s and 1960s Quinn was one of the leading international character actors and played leading roles in classic films such as La Strada - The Song of the Street or Alexis Sorbas .


Anthony Quinn's father Frank, whose father was born in Ireland , fought for Pancho Villa during the Mexican Revolution . His mother was a 15 year old Mexican. When the father was thought missing, the mother traveled illegally with little Anthony across the Mexican-US border and settled near Hollywood . Here they later met again with his father Frank, who was then a cameraman in Hollywood until he died in a car accident in 1927. As a result, the only twelve-year-old Anthony had to contribute to the living and for the next few years worked, among other things, as a newsboy, shoe cleaner, water carrier, window cleaner, slaughterhouse worker, bricklayer, street preacher, boxer and cutter in a textile factory.

The 1.88 m tall Quinn began his artistic career not as an actor, but as a sculptor . At the age of eleven, he received a prize for a sculpture . He was also an avid saxophone player and founded his own band. He later studied architecture with Frank Lloyd Wright on a scholarship . Both developed a personal relationship, and Lloyd Wright paid the then 17-year-old Quinn for an operation on his tongue that fixed a speech impediment. In addition to the surgery, Quinn received therapeutic language classes that sparked his interest in acting. Two years later he made his theatrical debut alongside Mae West in the play Clean Beds .

He began his film career with supporting roles , in which he played mostly Indians or Mexicans, including in Cecil B. DeMille's western The Hero of the Prairie . While filming , he met Katherine DeMille , the director's adopted daughter. They married on October 5, 1937 and had five children together. The firstborn son Christopher drowned in a pond on the estate of the actor WC Fields in 1941 . The marriage ended in divorce in 1965 after Quinn had an affair with Yolanda Addolori, his future second wife (marriage in 1966), with whom he had three other children, including the actors Francesco and Daniele .

Quinn received US citizenship in 1940 . By then he had appeared in supporting roles in over a dozen films. The famous father-in-law was of no help because he did nothing to support Quinn. Until the late 1940s, the actor made his way through supporting roles in various films. In 1947 the tide began to turn in his favor when he took over the lead role from Marlon Brando in the New York Broadway play Endstation Sehnsucht . The play's director, Elia Kazan , gave the new theater star a supporting role alongside Brando in the film Viva Zapata! , for which he received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor .

“I made maybe 300 films. For the first ten years in Hollywood, I was signed to practically every studio. I was a supporting actor. I got two Oscars. But I don't like that title: Supporting actor - someone who supports the star. There are wonderful actors who never become stars because they are Latinos. I fought for my place. I left America and shot in Italy, Hungary and Greece. "

Then Quinn quickly rose to the lead role , played in Italy for Federico Fellini in the film La Strada - The song of the street the showman Zampano and later in Vincent van Gogh - A life in passion the painter Gauguin . He received his second Oscar for his portrayal of Gauguin.

In 1958, Quinn tried as a director with the film The Buccaneer on a remake of the privateers of Louisiana , who had been his father turned 20 years previously and it had occupied in a supporting role. The film was a flop , and Quinn never went back to directing. In 1964 Quinn played the title role of the wise farm worker and bon vivant in Michael Cacoyannis ' film Alexis Sorbas . It was with this role that Quinn was later identified most, and it became the archetype for almost all other roles he later played. In 1985 he returned again back to Broadway to a successful season, the now famous character in a Zorbas - Musical show.

Quinn wrote several books and published his memoir in 1972 entitled The Fight With the Angel . He was also successful as a painter, sculptor and designer of jewelry and watches. He had two other children with his former secretary, with whom he was in a relationship from 1997 until his death in June 2001. Quinn died in Boston at the age of 86 of pneumonia-related pneumonia .

Filmography (selection)



Archival material


  • Oscar 1952 for Viva Zapata! ( Best Supporting Actor )
  • Oscar 1956 for Vincent van Gogh - A Life of Passion (Best Supporting Actor as Paul Gauguin )
  • Oscar nomination 1957 for Wild is the Wind ( Best Actor )
  • Oscar nomination 1965 for Alexis Sorbas (Best Actor)
  • Golden Globe 1987; Cecil B. DeMille Award, for his life's work
  • 1992 Golden Raspberry Nomination for The Real Bosses - A Devilish Empire ( Worst Supporting Actor )

Web links

Commons : Anthony Quinn  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Gregor Ball: Anthony Quinn His films - his life (= Heyne film library no. 32/83). Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, Munich, 1985, pp. 13-14.
  2. Marli Feldvoss: Anthony Quinn - "The camera likes me, but not from all sides". In: Deutschlandfunk broadcast “Calendar Sheet”. April 21, 2015, accessed April 21, 2020 .