Anthony Quinn

Master of The Arts

Legendary dynamic actor, director, writer and painter starred in 168 films, won countless awards with paintings featured in art collections all over the world.

The eclectic Anthony Quinn was a successful movie actors of Mexican ancestry. His exotic heritage encouraged his casting in any number of ethnic roles – as a Mexicans, Spaniards, Italians and American Indian chiefs. His career spanned 60 years with more than 150 films.

Anthony Quinn starred in countless memorable films, including ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ which made him larger than life to millions. He won two Oscars as best supporting actor – the first in 1952, for ‘Viva Zapata!’ and the second for his portrayal of painter, Paul Gauguin in, ‘Lust for Life.’ Beside being a dynamic actor, Quinn was a talented painter and sculptor – well known for his cubist and post-impressionist oils.

On June 3, 2001, Anthony Quinn aged 86, died of throat cancer-related respiratory failure in Boston, Massachusetts. His death was announced by the mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, Vincent Cianci, who said of Quinn, ‘He was larger than life…I was proud to call him a friend.’

Name:   Anthony  Quinn
Born:   21 April 1915
Star Sign: Taurus
Died:   3 June 2001
Birthplace: Chihuahua, Mexico
Country: Mexico
DetailsOther Names
Tony, Antonio Rodolfo Oaxaca
Francisco 'Frank' Quinn.
Manuela 'Nellie' (Oaxaca) Quinn
Quinn married Kathy Benvin in 1997 until his death in 2001; married Jolanda Addolori in 1966 and divorced in 1997; married Katherine DeMille in 1937 and they divorced in 1965.
Quinn has twelve children - Christopher, Christina, Catalina, Duncan and Valentina; Francesco, Danny, Lorenzo; Sean and Alexander; Antonia and Ryan,

Anthony Quinn was born Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca on April 21, 1915, in Chihuahua, Mexico, during the Mexican Revolution. His mother was Mexican-Indian,, Manuela 'Nellie' (née Oaxaca) and his Mexican-Irish father was Francisco 'Frank' Quinn, who had fought in the country's war for independence.

When Anthony was 8 months old, his family moved to America. They first lived in El Paso, Texas, then moved to the Echo Park area of Los Angeles as migrant farmer workers. Quinn's father eventually found work as a cameraman at the Selig motion picture studio. But, in 1926, when Anthony was 11 years old, his father was killed in an automobile accident.

Quinn attended the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel under evangelist, Aimee Semple McPherson. He played the saxophone in the church orchestra and was an apprentice preacher. Quinn left high school before graduating in order to help support his family. He worked in a mattress factory and boxed professionally to earn money.

Talented Youth
After winning a design competition, Quinn's prize was to study art and architecture under famed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. The two formed a close friendship and Wright encouraged the teenager to take acting lessons as well as undergo surgery to cure him of his speech impediment.

Quinn took his advice and had the surgery. Largely self-educated, Quinn embarked on a self-improvement program reading books, listening to symphony and familiarized himself with various artist works.

Cecil B. DeMille films
After studying acting and public speaking as a part of his post-operative speech therapy, Quinn gained a brief apprenticeship on stage. He landed his first role in the 1933 play 'Hay Fever.' In 1936, Quinn was cast in his first credited screen role in the 'Parole.'

Quinn had a variety of small roles in Paramount films including, an Indian warrior in 1936 'The Plainsman' directed by Cecil B. DeMille. Quinn acted in two more movies for director DeMille in the 1938, seafaring 'The Buccaneer' and Union Pacific (1939). During this time Quinn met and married DeMille's daughter, Katherine.

Different Roles
In 1942, Quinn played a matador in 'Blood and Sand.' with Rita Hayworth and Tyrone Power. Then he played Crazy Horse in 'They Died with Their Boots on,' with Errol Flynn as General Custer. By 1947, Quinn had appeared in more than fifty films and had played Indians, Mafia dons, Hawaiian chiefs, Filipino freedom-fighters, Chinese guerrillas, and Arab sheiks, but he still was not a major star.

Quinn decided to return to the theater and played Stanley Kowalski in 'A Streetcar Named Desire' on Broadway. In 1947, he became a naturalized United States citizen.

Won Oscars
In the early 1950s, Quinn returned to Hollywood and did some of his finest film work. In 1952, he starred as the Mexican revolutionary Eufemio Zapata in 'Viva Zapata!' with Marlon Brando. Quinn's performance won him the Academy Award for Actor in a Supporting Role.

In 1956, he received that same honor for his portrayal of the painter, Paul Gauguin in 'Lust for Life' with Kirk Douglas. That same year, Quinn starred in Federico Fellini's 'La Strada,' which he won the Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Great Roles
Anthony Quinn received his third Oscar nomination for portraying Gino in the 1957 'Wild is the Wind.' He later starred as Inuk, an Eskimodie who felt trapped between two cultures in the 1959 film, 'The Savage Innocent.' In 1961, Quinn starred in the religious epic film, 'Barabbas'.

In 1962, Quinn starred as Auda Abu Tayi in the epic historical film, 'Lawrence of Arabia' with Peter O'Toole. The film won seven Oscars. That same year Quinn starred as Stavros, a Greek resistance fighter in 'The Guns of Navarone' with Gregory Peck and Anthony Quayle.

Lion of the Desert
In 1971, after the success of a TV movie named 'The City,' Quinn played Mayor Thomas Jefferson Alcala, in the television series 'The Man and the City'. He later starred as Libyan tribal leader, Omar Mukhtar in the 1981 historical film 'Lion of the Desert.'

In 1983, Quinn reprises his role as 'Zorba the Greek' for 362 performances in a successful musical version called 'Zorba'. Quinn performed in the musical, both on Broadway and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Final Curtain
During the 1990s, Quinn's film career slowed, but he appeared in 'Revenge' (1990), 'Jungle Fever' (1991), 'Last Action Hero' (1993), 'A Walk in the Clouds' (1995) and 'Seven Servants' (1996). In 1994, Quinn played the role of Zeus in five television movies focusing on the legendary journeys of Hercules. He later portray the Gambino family underboss Aniello Dellacroce in the 1996 HBO film 'Gotti.'

Awards and Achievements
In all, Quinn's filmography listed 148 different roles between 1936 and 1999, plus a director's credit for the 1958 film 'Buccaneer', and two producer's credits for - 'The Visit' in 1964 and 'Across 110th Street' in 1972. In 1987, Quinn was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

Quinn also authored two memoirs: Original Sin: A Self-Portrait (1972) and One Man Tango (1995). In his later years, Anthony Quinn took on fewer acting roles and pursued his interest in art by painting and sculpting. In his birthplace Chihuahua, Mexico, there is a statue of Quinn doing his famous "Zorba the Greek" dance.

Family and Marriage
Anthony Quinn was a proud father, and his large family was a source of pride to him. In 1937, Quinn married Katherine DeMille but they divorced in 1965. They had five children but sadly in 1941, their first-born son, Christopher, drowned aged 3. In 1966, Quinn married Jolanda Addolori and had three sons. They divorced in August 1997.

Quinn had an affair with Friedel Dunbar which resulted in two children. Quinn also had two children with his secretary, Katherine Benvin whom he later married in 1997. Quinn and Benvin remained married until his death, on June 3, 2001.

Anthony Quinn Scholarship
]The Anthony Quinn Scholarship Program was established to commemorate contribution to the arts and support his vision for an art conscious society. The Foundation Scholarship Program distributes funds for arts education to high school students who demonstrate a strong commitment to personal artistic growth, exceptional talent, dedication and focus.

Throughout his teenage years he won various art competitions in California and focused at Polytechnic High School in Los Angeles on drafting.

As of 2013, Anthony Quinn holds the record for appearing in more films with Academy Award winning actors than any other actor. He had a total of 46 Academy Award winning co-stars.

Prior to be an actor Anthony Quinn worked various odd jobs including - a street corner preacher and a slaughterhouse worker.

When actor John Barrymore needed a blood transfusion due to his declining health, Anthony Quinn donated blood to his old friend.

Quinn received a Tony Award for Best Actor for his part in the Broadway performance of 'Becket' in 1961.

Before Acting, Quinn was a professional boxer, and took up art and architecture.

Guinn was once the son-in-law of director Cecil B. DeMille. At first they had a rocky relationship as his father-in-law did not approve of him.

Quinn was a talented artist and had won the first prize in an architectural drawing contest which included an appraisal of his work by the noted architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.

After appearing in the 1995 film 'A Walk in the Clouds' he became very close friends with actor Keanu Reeves.

Quinn authored two memoirs: Original Sin: A Self-Portrait (1972) and One Man Tango (1995).

"Having talent is like having blue eyes. You don't admire a man for the colour of his eyes. I admire a man for what he does with his talent."

"Will no man ever do something without a why, just like that, for the hell of it?"

"No parent is there forever. So I won't be here forever with these kids."

"On the stage, you have to find truth, even if you have to lose the audience."

"I liked sculpting better than painting. You have more freedom in sculpting."

"In Europe an actor is an artist. In Hollywood, if he isn't working, he's a bum."

"I never get the girl. I wind up with a country instead."

"I have lived in a flurry of images, but I will go out in a freeze frame."

"On a dead man’s door, you can knock forever."

"In work, I am your man. But in things like playing and singing, I am my own."


Anthony Quinn spent his last years in Bristol, Rhode Island. On the 3rd of June, 2001, Quinn died of respiratory failure, pneumonia and throat cancer in Boston, Massachusetts at the age of 86. His funeral was held in the First Baptist Church in America in College Hill, Providence, Rhode Island. He is buried in a family plot in Bristol, Rhode Island.

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