Published June 04, 2001
Anthony Quinn, the Oscar-winning actor best remembered for his role in the 1965 film Zorba the Greek, died Sunday morning in a Boston Hospital. He was 86.
His death was reported by Providence, R.I. Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci, a friend of the actor.
"He was larger than life," Cianci said.
Quinn appeared in more than 100 movies in a film career that spanned five decades, winning Academy Awards for best supporting actor in 1952's Viva Zapata! and 1956's Lust for Life.
Although he portrayed kings, a pope, a boxer and an artist, the barrel-chested actor's favorite role was the Greek peasant Zorba from the Nikos Kazantzakis novel. Quinn returned to the stage in 1983 in a revival of the musical that inspired the 1965 film.
"I never get the girl," Quinn once joked in an interview. "I wind up with a country instead."
Quinn was born in Mexico and raised in Los Angeles, where as a child he shined shoes and sold newspapers. After working as an movie extra, he met and married the adopted daughter of Cecil B. De Mille, Katherine.
Quinn went from stage and B-movie roles to become an international leading man renowned for his big-man sensitivity and honest acting style. When leading roles became less frequent, he left Hollywood to live and work in Italy.
He was divorced from Katherine in 1965 after he fathered two children with Italian costume designer Yolanda Addolari, sparking an international scandal.
In 1972, Quinn wrote his autobiography, The Original Sin, which has been translated into more than 18 languages. He followed with a second volume titled Suddenly Sunset.
The characteristically straightforward actor shunned the use of ghost writers, favoring blunt honesty over Hollywood image-making.
"I could either lie or tell the truth," he said. "I figured the only value in such a book would be to describe my life as I lived it."
As his film career slowed in recent years, Quinn devoted most of his time to painting and sculpting.
Quinn said in a 1987 interview that he reached most of the goals he set for himself as a young boy.
"I never satisfied that kid but I think he and I have made a deal now," he said, referring to his younger self. "It's like climbing a mountain: I didn't take him up Mount Everest, but I took him up Mount Whitney.
"And I think that's not bad."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.