Anthony Quinn Biography

Anthony Quinn exits the theater after the 40th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 8/28/88  
Photo by Alan Light

This Anthony Quinn biography is the story of an incredibly prolific actor who appeared in over 200 movies in his career.  Anthony Quinn should be recognized as a pioneer who paved the way for Hispanic actors to get taken seriously in Hollywood.

Anthony’s friends knew him as a passionate man who married three times, fathered 12 children, and never gave up his quest to find ways to speak to the human spirit through the arts—on and off screen. This Anthony Quinn biography presents just a taste of his many accomplishments.

Early Life

Born Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1915, Anthony Quinn seemed destined for adventure. Indeed, while still in the womb he participated in revolutionary marches under the banner of Pancho Villa.

By eight months of age, Quinn had escaped with his mother to El Paso Texas in a coal wagon. When Quinn’s father joined them about three years later, the family moved to California in search of work and settled in Los Angeles.

Anthony Quinn and His Interest in the Arts

From an early age, Anthony Quinn showed an interest in and talent for the arts. He won a statewide sculpting contest at age nine, and enjoyed sketching the movie stars he met while accompanying his father to work at Zelig’s Studio.

When Anthony’s father died suddenly, 11-year-old Quinn put art aside temporarily to support his family. He skipped school to take work as a migrant farm worker, a newsboy, a preacher, a taxi driver, and a welterweight boxer.

During this time, Quinn did participate in one important art contest. His design for a marketplace won him the opportunity to study with legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The relationship with Wright proved instrumental to the development of Quinn’s future film career.

Film Career

Anthony Quinn exits the theater after the 40th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 8/28/88   Photo by Alan Light

Anthony Quinn exits the theater after the 40th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 8/28/88
Photo by Alan Light

Anthony Quinn first began to explore the world of acting after Wright encouraged him to attend an acting school to improve his speech. While in school, Quinn performed in a well-reviewed play.This in turn led to other small parts in plays and movies. From 1936 to 1947, Quinn appeared in over 50 films, usually playing an ethnic character, often a villain.

In 1947, Quinn became a naturalized American citizen, and did not return to Hollywood until the early 1950s. He continued to specialize in tough guy roles.

His big break and the key moment in the Anthony Quinn biography came from his role in “Viva Zapata” alongside Marlon Brando. Quinn won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the role, thereby becoming the first Mexican-American actor to receive an Oscar. He won this award a second time in 1956 for his role in “Lust For Life.”

Famous Anthony Quinn Movies

All told, Anthony Quinn appeared in over 200 movies in the course of his nearly 60-year career as an actor. Some of the most famous Anthony Quinn movies include:

  • Viva Zapata
  • Lust for Life
  • Wild is the Wind
  • Zorba the Greek
  • The Guns of Navarone
  • Laurence of Arabia

A Second Career

By the 1980s, Quinn’s film appearances had become fewer. He discovered a second career as an artist, drawing on a lifelong habit of creating small sculptures from bits of stone and wood found on site during film production.

Quinn made his sculptures larger with the intent of decorating his own home, but soon found others wanted to buy them. A gallery showing of his work in Hawaii sold out completely.

Last Days of Anthony Quinn

Roughly a month after finishing his last movie, “Avenging Angelo” with Sylvester Stallone, Anthony Quinn passed away at the age of 86. His legacy of moving the human spirit lives on in Anthony Quinn films and in his art.

If you are interested in knowing more about other famous Hispanic actors simply visit Hispanic Bios where I share many of the bios of inspiring Hispanics.

3 Ways to Celebrate Hispanic Thanksgiving

We mix the Thanksgiving parade in NYC with some Latino foods like postre de leches

Doesn’t is sound unique to say: We are celebrating Hispanic Thanksgiving? We expect this holiday to be truly American however, with the influx of immigrants in this beautiful nation thanksgiving is having a touch of many different heritages, one of them Hispanic. According to popular lore, the first American Thanksgiving took place in 1621, following the Pilgrims’ first successful corn harvest. The Pilgrims invited their Native American allies from the Wampanoag tribe, who also contributed food to the feast.

Historians believe that this meal was likely cooked in the Native American tradition, using local spices and cooking methods. This first Thanksgiving showed a spirit of cooperation and blending between two cultures that became integral to America’s concept of its identity as a “melting pot” of immigrant cultures. Today we can continue to honor that melting pot spirit by celebrating a Hispanic Thanksgiving.

3 Ways to Celebrate hispanic Thanksgiving

Hispanic Thanksgiving for us is mixing the Thanksgiving parade in NYC with some Latino foods like postre de leches

We mix the Thanksgiving parade in NYC with some Latino foods like postre de leches

Let’s consider 3 specific ideas to celebrate Hispanic Thanksgiving that will help share Latin American traditions with friends and family.

Spice Up the Menu

The staples of an American Thanksgiving meal include turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. However, even from region to region of the US the recipes for these staples seem very different. You can easily add your own personal touch to the meal by tweaking your recipes to include chili peppers, green pepper, chorizo, and other Latin flavors.

For example, you might make a cornbread and jalapeño stuffing for the turkey, use a chipotle rub, or even make turkey with mole sauce. You can also add whatever side dishes you like such as stuffed peppers, grilled corn on the cob with red pepper and lime, and cactus salad giving it a Mexican flavor.

If you have very traditional Anglo family members that might be scandalized by any departure from the typical Thanksgiving table, consider adding the Latin flavors to the appetizers instead. Prepare chips and salsa, guacamole, or chili pepper pepitas to snack on while watching football or socializing before dinner. This should help gradually introduce stubborn family members to the idea of a blended American and Hispanic Thanksgiving.

Incorporate Hispanic Décor

As an easy way to create the ambiance of a Hispanic Thanksgiving, consider substituting items with a Latin flair for the traditional fall décor normally present at an American Thanksgiving table.

For example, you might include colorful ceramic plates from the country your Hispanic heritage is from in your table settings. I use coconut serving spoons from Colombia and clay serving pots when I add a soup. Create a centerpiece with a Hispanic theme, or choose the colors of your napkins and tablecloth to match your home country’s flag.

Share Gratitude

Many American families have a tradition of sharing gratitude for the blessings of the past year at the Thanksgiving table. You can add a Hispanic twist to this tradition by having the elders of each branch of the family share the story of how their ancestors first came to America, along with gratitude for their sacrifices.

If you happen to live in a part of the country like Texas, which once belonged to Mexico, you might feel surprised to find that that Hispanic side of the family has been here longer than the Anglo side. This tradition makes an excellent way of sharing the family history and heritage with the younger generation and making them aware of the shared immigrant experience of almost all American families.

As you can see there are many simple yet fun ways to infuse your heritage in this traditional American celebration that is dear also to Hispanics because of the gratitude we may feel to this land.

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