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

Escaped The Mexican Revolution, Debuted On Stage And Screen, Offered More Rewarding Roles, Focused On Other Talents

Anthony Quinn: 1915–2001: Actor , artist, writer.

Anthony Quinn's robust portrayals of such characters as Zorba the Greek and the fierce Bedouin leader in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) made him larger than life to millions. Appearing in more than two hundred films during a career that spanned six decades, his image was defined by his charismatic performance as the lusty peasant Alexis Zorba in Zorba the Greek (1964), a role that seemed to reflect the sum and substance of his off-screen persona as someone proud, virile and passionate.

Early on the Mexican Irish actor was typecast as a Native American, a Latin villain, a Mafia don, and a Mexican bandito in mostly B-movies, but he resisted characterization. His successful stage performance of Stanley Kowalski in Tenessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire led to more challenging roles, such as the hot-tempered brother of Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata in Viva Zapata! (1952) and the artist Paul Gauguin in Lust for Life (1956), winning Academy Awards for both performances.

Quinn also resisted being categorized as an actor. He considered running for governor of California, but was discouraged by labor leader Cesar Chavez, who told him he was more valuable as an actor than in politics.

He dedicated much of his time later in life to honing his artistic abilities, becoming an accomplished painter and sculptor, and designing houses in Italy and California.

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