‘Zorba the Greek’ Star Anthony Quinn Once Personified Diversity in Hollywood

  • Variety
‘Zorba the Greek’ Star Anthony Quinn Once Personified Diversity in Hollywood
Decades before Hollywood got serious about the need for diversity, Anthony Quinn was diversity. This month marks the birthday of the Mexico-born, L.A.-raised actor who played Bedouins, Native Americans, Soviets — and even Mexicans and Americans in his 60-year career. He was the first Mexican-American to win an Oscar, for his supporting performance in “Viva Zapata!” (1952) and won another as French painter Gaugin in “Lust for Life” (1956). His two trademark performances were in “Zorba the Greek” (another Oscar nom) and as an Italian circus strongman in Fellini’s “La Strada.”

Antonio Rodolfo Oaxaca Quinn was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, on April 21, 1915, and began acting in 1936. His rise in Hollywood is especially remarkable considering the times. From 1929-36, the U.S.’ “Mexican Repatriation” program sent those of Mexican descent south of the border (even though many were U.S. citizens) out of fear they were taking jobs from whites. In
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