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Anthony Quinn was born Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca (or was it Antonio Rudolfo Oaxaca Quinn?) in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1915. His father was a mix of Irish and Mexican ancestry, and his mother descended from Aztec Indians.

When he was a boy, his family moved first to El Paso and then to Los Angeles. He left high school before graduating, and did some professional boxing, and managed to get a job with famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, but soon found acting, first on the stage.

He was signed to a contract by Paramount, but they were only interested in putting him in "ethnic" roles, usually as villains, and often as Native Americans. One of his few non-ethnic early roles was as "Murray Burns", the guy who steals Ann Sheridan from James Cagney in City For Conquest (and also in the cast was then-actor Elia Kazan).

By 1947, he had made 50 movie appearances, but none were very memorable, and he grew discouraged, and moved to New York, where he did some TV, and Broadway plays (including playing Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire for Elia Kazan, replacing Marlon Brando, who left the part to go to Hollywood).

In 1952, when Elia Kazan prepared to direct Marlon Brando (now a major star) in Viva Zapata, he cast Quinn as Zapata's brother, likely partly to give more Mexican authenticity to the movie. Quinn won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, which led to some somewhat better roles, but Quinn felt his career would soon be back where it was, and he moved to Italy, where he had a major hit starring in Fellini's La Strada.

Over the next decade, he alternated between Italian and Hollywood movies, winning a second Oscar playing painter Paul Gauguin in Lust For Life (although he only appeared in the movie for 8 minutes!), and being nominated for Best Actor Academy Award role in Wild Is The Wind. He continued to take more supporting roles as well as starring ones, and he had important roles in The Guns of Navarone and Lawrence of Arabia.

In 1964, when it looked like his career was winding down, he got the title role in Alexis Zorbas (a U.S./English/Greek movie better known as Zorba the Greek), and he (and the movie) were huge international hits, but Quinn lost the Best Actor Oscar to Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady.

Quinn aged well, and continued acting regularly throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, including playing several Mafia characters during the slew of movies spawned by the success of The Godfather. In 1983, he played Zorba in a Broadway revival.

He continued some acting all the way until he passed away in 2001 at the age of 86. Quinn certainly had a "lust for life"! He was married three times (the first to Katherine DeMille, daughter of Cecil B. DeMille, who did not like Quinn, possibly because he was Mexican), and he fathered a total of 12 children (10 by his three wives, including five by DeMille). His last child was born in 1996, when Quinn was 81!
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