Known worldwide as Zorba, from the hit movie Zorba the Greek, Anthony Quinn won numerous honors for a vari¬ ety of stage and film roles in a career that spanned more than six decades.Anthony Rudolph Oaxaca Quinn was born in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.
When he was a baby, his father left home to fight in the Mexican Revolution, and his mother smuggled the family across the border to El Paso, Texas. His father reunited with the family in Los Angeles.At the age of nine, Quinn was forced to take odd jobs to help support the family after his father died in a car accident.
In school, Quinn was a gifted student in a variety of subjects. He wanted to take acting classes, but he was unable to perform in school plays because of a speech impediment. Quinn had the defect surgically corrected when he was eighteen.
In the 1930s, Quinn got his first professional acting assignments. After he won the part of a Native American in Cecil B. DeMille’s movie western The Plainsman, he went under contract with Paramount Studios and appeared in a number of films during the 1940s.
Quinn was getting only minor roles, howev¬ er, mostly as villains of various stereotyped eth¬ nicities and nationalities, Mexican and other¬ wise. For this reason, he became dissatisfied with Hollywood, and in 1947, he began a career in theater.
Most notably, he performed the lead in a production ofA Streetcar Named Desire, which had a successful two-year run.He eventually returned to Hollywood and resumed a film career. He won an Academy Award for supporting actor for his role as the brother to Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata in the 1952 movie Viva Zapata! In 1956, he took home another supporting actor Oscar for the role of the artist Paul Gaugin, in the film Lustfor Life.
In spite of his two Oscars, Quinn was still dissatisfied with Hollywood, and he returned to the stage once again. During the 1960s, however, he went back to movies and gave his most famous performance, as the Greek peasant Zorba in the film Zorba the Greek.
The film was an international hit that was nomi¬ nated for several Oscars, including best actor for Quinn.Throughout his career, the handsome and flamboyant Quinn had a reputation for being a ladies’ man, and he was involved in numer¬ ous romantic affairs.
He married twice and fathered eleven children, the last of which was born when he was seventy-eight years old.Quinn made more than 325 films during his career. He acted into his eighties, appearing in the film A Walk in the Clouds in 1995.