Anthony Quinn was a Mexican-born American actor, as well as a painter and writer. He starred in numerous critically acclaimed and commercially successful films, including Zorba the Greek, Lawrence of Arabia, The Guns of Navarone, The Message and Federico Fellini’s La strada. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor twice; for Viva Zapata! in 1952 and Lust for Life in 1956.
Quinn was born Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico, during the Mexican Revolution. His mother, Manuela “Nellie” Oaxaca, was of Aztec ancestry. His father, Francisco Quinn, of Irish Mexican ancestry, was born in Mexico. Frank Quinn rode with Pancho Villa, then later moved to Los Angeles and became an assistant cameraman at a movie studio. In Quinn’s autobiography The Original Sin: A Self-Portrait by Anthony Quinn he denied being the son of an “Irish adventurer” and attributed that tale to Hollywood publicists.
When he was six years old, Quinn attended a Catholic church. At age eleven, however, he joined the Pentecostals in the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. Quinn grew up first in El Paso, Texas, and later the Boyle Heights and the Echo Park areas of Los Angeles, California. He attended St. Hammel Elementary School, Belvedere Junior High School, Polytechnic High School and finally Belmont High School with future baseball player and General Hospital star, John Beradino, but left before graduating. Tucson High School in Arizona, many years later, awarded him an honorary high school diploma.