He fought his way to the top and he enjoyed the heights when he arrived.
He had one of the longest careers in Hollywood. It covered more than 160 big screen and tv titles — including a roster of memorable classic movies — spanning a whopping 65 years. And he took himself verrry seriously as an actor and international star.
Perhaps he was entitled to do just that. Anthony Quinn began his career as literally a heavy of generally undetermined ethnic origin.
Before he established himself as a star, Quinn had worked twenty years as a Hollywood exotic — Redskin, dago, wop, greaser: his mixed origins swallowed every variation. He grunted, leered, had bad table manners, made suggestive remarks to the ladies and generally cultivated the uncouth, wrote British author-critic David Thomson. He dutifully let every Paramount white man slug him….
From these humble cinematic beginnings, Quinn went on to establish himself as a topline domestic star — winning not one, not two but three acting Oscars — and a bankable international one. He worked with an extraordinary roster of fellow award-winning movie actors.
Quinn is certainly an important 20th century screen figure (he died in 2001 at age 86), and we hope today’s mini-Quiz will shine a bit of a spotlight on his long career. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: Quinn didn’t play up his ethnic backround early in his career but did so later on when it became somewhat fashionable to do so. Where exactly was he born? a) El Paso, Texas; b) Mexico; c) Madrid, Spain; or d) Honduras.
2) Question: Quinn worked opposite many famous actresses during his screen career but who was both a great personal friend to the actor as well as his frequent costar? a) Lana Turner; b) Maureen O’Hara; c) Greer Garson; or d) Joan Crawford.
3) Question: Quinn won two “best supporting actor” Oscars but which one of the following pictures generated his Academy Award as “best actor?” a) Viva Zapata!; b) Lust For Life; c) La Strada; or d) Zorba the Greek.
4) Question: Perhaps Quinn’s most durable role is in 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia. What does he play in this David Lean classic? a) A Middle-Eastern diplomat; b) An American journalist; c) The title role; or d) A volatile Bedouin shaikh.