Anthony Quinn

Anthony Quinn biography
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Anthony Quinn biography

Anthony Quinn was an American film actor born in Mexico, his real name was Anthony Rudolf Oaxaca. He was born in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1915 and died in Boston in 2001. His father was of Irish origin and his mother was Mexican. Since a very young age, he lived in California.

While studying at the Belvedere school, June Hight had to start working for the economy of his family and therefore learned many and varied trades as a newspaper vendor, waiter, truck driver, and boxer.

Apparently, his vocation for acting woke up since he was very young and interested in theater and attended Katherine Hamil’s school. When he was twenty-one he made his debut at the great Hollytown Theater in Los Angeles. But for personal reasons, he saw himself with more future in the cinema and thus began as an extra in films like The Milky Way, by Leo McCarey and The Vultures of the Prison, by Louis Friedlander, both shot in 1936.

His physical features conditioned him to certain archetypal roles such as sex symbol, gangster or soldier, although with time he managed to get out of it and represent more varied characters such as Eskimos, Russians or Indians.

His first steps in the movies were small because he slowly rose from being an extra. He went through “It Started in the Tropic” by Mitchell Leisen (1937) and Buffalo Bill by Cecil B. de Mille (1936), being these the most famous directors with whom he worked. By that time he worked a lot with Paramount and ended up marrying the daughter of director De Mille, Katherine, a decision that created inconveniences in the middle despite what one might think.

In the forties, he moved to Warner studio where he found more interesting roles and allowed him to rub shoulders with renowned actors. By this time he appeared in City of Conquest (1940), Anatole Litvak, Blood and Sand (1940), by Rouben Mamoulian and Died with Boots on (1941), by Raoul Walsh. He never stayed in a single studio, he went through Paramount, 20th Century-Fox and RKO where he also did not adhere to a specific genre, as he went through comedies, adventures, musicals, and westerns. He had good reviews in Incident in Ox-Bow (1943) by William A. Wellman.

In 1947 he obtained the American nationality and returned to the tables of the theater to interpret in Broadway The Gentleman from Athens and a streetcar called Desire in substitution of Marlon Brando. With these works, his success in film and theater multiplied and gave him many new and more interesting roles as his role as Emiliano Zapata’s brother in ¡Viva Zapata! From Elia Kazan for which he received his first Academy Award.

From then on he worked with great directors such as Federico Fellini’s La Strada (1954) where he played a great role as Zampanó.

When returning to Hollywood, he returned to devastate with his paper of Gauguin, a friend of Van Gogh in the film the crazy one of the red hair (1956) of Vicente Minnelli, with this success gained his second Oscar to the Better Secondary Actor.

After this, he began to work alternating between the United States and Europe with a trajectory that fluctuated a lot in the quality of his papers. Between the works in which he reached more notoriety they are: The cannons of the Navarone (1961) of J. Lee Thompson, Barabbas (1961) of Richard Fleischer, Lawrence of Arabia (1962) of David Lean, and Zorba the Greek (1964) of Michael Cacoyannis, with whom he obtained another Oscar nomination.

Shortly after, she married Lolanda Addolori, a costume designer he met while shooting Barabbas. But before that, he had already married once with Katherine DeMille an actress with whom he married in 1937 and with whom he had five children. The marriage with Addolori ended when Quinn returns to be a father with another woman, with whom he had three children. Then he had two others with Friedel Dunbar and finally, he had an affair with his secretary Katherine Benvin with whom he married in 1997 and with whom he lived until his death. With her, he had two children. So, his offspring consists of 13 children.

In the following decade “confirmed the greatness of an actor capable of adopting a thousand and one characterizations and always be up to the demands of the script.” In spite of his popularity it was in films not so well-known and with different directors like Sandals of the fisherman (1968) of Michael Anderson, the inheritance Ferramonti (1975) of Mauro Bolognini, the sons of Sanchez (1978), the lion of the desert ( 1979) by Moustapha Akkad, Valentina (1982) by Antonio J. Betancor, Wild Fever (1991) by Spike Lee.

He did not only devoted himself to theater and cinema, he also appeared on the small screen in some occasions or episodes as in the series Philco Playhouse (1949), Schlitz Playhouse of Stars (1951-55), “The Ed Sullivan Show” (1963), the series “The city” and “The man and the city” (both of 1971) and “The Mike Douglas Show” (1971).

He died at the hospital in Boston in 2001 as a result of severe pneumonia contracted after passing chemotherapy for esophageal cancer at 86 years. His ashes lie on his farm in California and a part was thrown into the Copper Canyon in Chihuahua.

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