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O–Q Entries
Simon Oakland
Arch Oboler
Charles Ogle
Willis O'Brien
George Pal
Gregory Peck
Cassandra Peterson
Walter Pidgeon
Jack P. Pierce
Vincent Price
Anthony Quinn
 
QUINN, ANTHONY
(1915–2001). Mexican actor.

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR FILM CREDITS
Acted in: Television Spy (Edward Dmytryk 1939); Road to Singapore (Victor Schertzinger 1940); Ghost Breakers (George Marshall 1940); Road to Morocco (David BUTLER 1942); Where Do We Go from Here? (Gregory Ratoff 1945); Sinbad the Sailor (Richard Wallace 1947); "The House of Dust" (1951), episode of Lights Out; Ulysses (Mario Camerini 1955); The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Jean Delannoy 1957); Barabbas (Richard FLEISCHER 1962); Shoes of the Fisherman (Michael ANDERSON 1968); The Magus (Guy Green 1968); Mohammed, Messenger of God (Moustapha Akkad 1976); Jesus of Nazareth (tv movie) (Franco Zeffirelli 1977); Ghosts Can't Do It (John Derek 1991); Last Action Hero (John McTiernan 1993); Hercules and the Amazon Women (tv movie) (Bill L. Norton 1994); Hercules and the Lost Kingdom (tv movie) (Harley Cokliss 1994); Hercules in the Circle of Fire (tv movie) (Doug Lefler 1994); Hercules in the Underworld (tv movie) (Norton 1994); Hercules in the Maze of the Minotaur (tv movie) (John Becker and Josh Bender 1994).
 
He was by far the most noteworthy contributor to science fiction and fantasy films whose last name begins with a "Q"; however, when your only real competition is Robert QUARRY, this isn't much of a compliment. Paradoxically, there is only one interesting question to raise about Anthony Quinn's career in this forum: why, in a long and variegated acting career spanning seven decades, was Quinn's involvement with the genre so consistently peripheral?

When he first arrived in Hollywood, Quinn was visibly foreign, so the conventions of the era dictated that he play villains—most prominently, as Bob Hope's foil in The Ghost Breakers and two "Road" movies. But he worked his way up to better roles, including an Oscar-winning supporting performance in Viva Zapata (1952)—one of the rare occasions when this Mexican-born actor actually played a Mexican—and he became a star after a career-defining role in La Strada (1954). Director Federico Fellini recognized that this homely, ungainly actor was perfectly suited to play simple, uneducated men of the soil; and, at a time when Hollywood was struggling to live down its glitzy past and establish itself as a medium more thoughtful and mature than that brash upstart, television, Quinn was quickly embraced as the ideal embodiment of guileless sincerity and gritty realism, seen most sympathetically in his greatest role as Zorba the Greek (1964). Quinn, in other words, came to represent the very antithesis of science fiction and fantasy film, which explains why he was never approached to appear in one of them.

Still, there was one type of fantasy film that demanded an atmosphere of guileless sincerity and gritty realism, since it was not permissible to label it as a fantasy film, and that was the religious epic, where Quinn could always find a home. When not gazing in awe at a messiah figure, whether it was Jesus Christ in Barrabas and Jesus of Nazareth or the unseen Mohammed in the controversial Mohammed, Messenger of God, Quinn picked up other odd credits on the fringes of the genre, including a supporting role in Kirk DOUGLAS's Ulysses, Quasimodo in the least memorable version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, an enigmatic magician in the wretched The Magus, and a Russian pope striving to avert global disaster in the enjoyably silly The Shoes of the Fisherman. More often, however, Quinn kept himself busy playing manipulative mobsters and charming peasants in increasingly less prominent venues, as the film industry now sought to project its youthful energy more than its seriousness of purpose. In response, Quinn began devoting more time to his second career as a painter.

By the early 1990s, when Quinn was reduced to starring in the terrible Bo Derek vehicle Ghosts Can't Do It, one might have suspected that his career was over. Yet he performed credibly as a gangster opposite Arnold SCHWARZENEGGER in Last Action Hero and, as Zeus, presided with dignity over the television movies that launched the series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Near the end of his sixty years of acting, it seems, science fiction film had grown and developed to the point that it could finally make use of the memorably earthy presence of Anthony Quinn.

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