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The Rock-itt : September 2009
He was thought to be Greek by most movie goers but in actual fact Anthony Quinn was Mexican. He played the part of the character Zorba the Greek, which was huge at the Box Office. It is argued today that Zorba the Greek was his best film but I beg to differ on that argument. To me, Quinn's best performance was in David Lean's classic, Lawrence of Arabia. Quinn played the part of an Arab tribal leader and in my book, did it to absolute perfection. He was so convincing in his portrayal even the Arabs thought he was Arab. The earliest I can say that I remember Anthony Quinn was at the local flee pit Saturday matinee when along with half dozen of my 8 year old mates I saw him up on the Silver Screen playing alongside our own greatest ever actor, Errol Flynn in They Died With Their Boots On. Quinn played the part of Indian legend "Chief Crazy Horse" and did quite a good job on the part. He had a great physique and was very athletic and to us 8 year olds was the quintessential Indian and looked just as a redskin should look. From that day onIsawhimin countless films, some at the matinees and others as I grew older. Along with Lawrence Of Arabia, two films in particular stay in my mind, The 25th Hour, where he played a farmer caught up in the cruelty of Hitler's push to rule the world and A lust For Life, where he played the part of famous artist, "Gauguin". He again turned in a good performance although the star of the film was Kirk Douglas, who played the main part of tragic and mentally tormented Dutch artist, Vincent Van Gough, but Quinn held his own alongside Douglas and the pair seemed very realistic in their performances. Anthony Quinn was always a safe bet, you knew that if his name was there then you could turn up and not be disappointed. On his personal side he was married 3 times and fathered 13 children. He was also an accomplished painter and sculptor and in his earlier days a good boxer. He returned to the stage in 1983 to play the part of Zorba The Greek and played to a packed house for 362 performances. To sum up Anthony Quinn, I would call him an exceptional actor of his era. He was gifted in many ways and fortunately there are many films which he has left us with to appreciate those gifts. Anthony died in June 2001 of a respiratory ailment connected to cancer but before he passed on to the other side he left us with some memorable quotes. These are just a few of them..... "In Europe an actor is an artist, in Hollywood, if he isn't working he's a bum". "They said that all I was good for was playing Indians." On Ingrid Bergman) "I reckon that there wasn't a man who came within a mile of her that didn't fall in love with her."