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Anthony Quinn: 1915–2001: Actor , Artist, Writer

Focused On Other Talents

His success in acting allowed Quinn to exploit his artistic talents later in life, when he concentrated on painting, sculpting, and designing jewelry. He was known for cubist and pot-impressionist oils, showing his work at major international exhibitions, although he admitted to "stealing" from the masters. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, he quoted Picasso: "A poor man borrows, a rich artist steals. I steal, of course." Nevertheless, he added, "I'm much more honest in my painting than I am as an actor. You can't do 240 films and do your best in each one." Quinn penned his memoirs, The Original Sin: A Self Portrait in 1972.

Quinn never stopped acting, but he slowed down quite a bit after 1975. "The parts dried up as I reached my sixtieth birthday, loosely coinciding with my growing disinclination to pursue them," he said to The Guardian. "Indeed, I could not see the point in playing old men on screen and I rejected the role for myself." However, he continued to make movies throughout the 1970s, appearing in such films as The Greek Tycoon (1978) and The Children of Sanchez (1978). Turning to television, he played Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis in the 1988 movie Onassis: The Richest Man in the World and the tireless fisherman in Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea (1990).

Quinn's second marriage lasted 31 years, but he was never a faithful husband. He had three children with two other women and carried on affairs with many more, including Ingrid Bergman's daughter Pia Lindstrom and the French actress Dominique Sanda. He and Addolori divorced in 1997 after he fathered two more children with his former secretary, Kathy Benvin, who was 50 years his junior. Their daughter, Antonia, was born in 1993 and a son, Ryan, was born in 1996.

Still active into his eighties, Quinn worked with Kevin Costner in Revenge (1990), director Spike Lee in Jungle Fever (1991) and Keanu Reeves in A Walk in the Clouds (1995). In 1995 he published One Man Tango, a second memoir in which he did some soul-searching and confessed to his womanizing ways. The title refers to a comment made by Orson Welles: "Tony, you're a one-man tango." He was working on the film Avenging Angelo with Sylvester Stallone at the time of his death from respiratory failure.

Selected works


Clean Beds.

A Streetcar Named Desire.

Gentlman from Athens.


Tchin Tchin.


Parole!, 1936.

The Plainsman, 1937.

King of Alcatraz, 1938.

King of Chinatown, 1939.

Islands of Lost Men, 1939.

The Brave Bulls, 1951.

Viva Zapata, 1952.

La Strada, 1954.

Lust for Life, 1956.

Wild Is the Wind, 1957.

(as director) The Buccaneer, 1958.

Guns of Navarone, 1961.

Becket, 1961.

Barabbas, 1962.

Requiem for a Heavyweight, 1962.

Lawrence of Arabia, 1962.

Zorba the Greek, 1964.

High Wind in Jamaica, (1965.

The Secret of Santa Vittoria, 1969.

Deaf Smith and Johnny Ears, 1973.

The Children of Sanchez, 1978.

The Greek Tycoon, 1978.

Revenge, 1990.

Jungle Fever, 1991.

A Walk in the Clouds, 1995.

Avenging Angelo, 2002.

Made-For-TV movies

Onassis: The Richest Man in the World. The Old Man and the Sea.


The Original Sin: A Self Portrait, 1972.

(with Michael Paisner) One Man Tango, 1995.



The Guardian (London), June 5, 2001.

Independent (London), June 5, 2001. B2.

Los Angeles Times, June 4, 2001. A1.

San Francisco Chronicle, June 5, 2001. B2.

The Scotsman, June 5, 2001. P. 14.

The Washington Post, June 4, 2001. B6.


Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2002.

—Kelly M. Cross

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Jan Peck Biography - Personal to David Randall (1972–) Biography - PersonalAnthony Quinn: 1915–2001: Actor , Artist, Writer Biography - Escaped The Mexican Revolution, Debuted On Stage And Screen, Offered More Rewarding Roles, Focused On Other Talents