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CNN Larry King Weekend

The Best of Interviews With Anthony Quinn

Aired June 09, 2001 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: The late, great Anthony Quinn in his own words. Highlights from some of our best interviews with a legendary actor and artist. He's next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.

Thanks for joining us.

The world's a less colorful place this weekend. Anthony Quinn died last Sunday of respiratory failure at age 86. He was buried yesterday in a private service in Rhode Island. A memorial was held in his honor today in Providence.

Quinn's passing was quiet. His astonishing life was anything but.

Born in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1915, Anthony Quinn went on to win two Oscars, marry three women, father 13 children.

His remarkable acting career spanned six decades and scores of movies. He played Mexican bandits, Mafia dons, Hawaiian Eskimos, a Russian Pope, Attila the Hun, Crazy Horse, artist Paul Gauguin and of course, Zorba the Greek.

When he sat down with me in October of 1996, he was reveling in the role of a new father again. His youngest daughter was three years old, his youngest son just two months.

I asked Quinn what it's like to be a dad at 81.


ANTHONY QUINN, ACTOR: It's rather strange, because I'm going through a very strange period now, because I have this little infant there. And I adore him. He's my son. But, I mean, there's problems, Larry.

KING: Like what, Tony?

ANTHONY QUINN: I mean, I won't see him graduate from high school. I mean, unless I'm 102. And I don't think I'll get to 102; I think I'll get to about...

KING: Ninety-eight.

ANTHONY QUINN: ... 98. Ninety-eight. But I don't think I'll get to 102.

KING: So you'll see him -- yeah, you might see...

ANTHONY QUINN: Probably in high school, yes. And my daughter -- I'm not going to see her make that ballet -- that ballet entrance...

KING: So now are you -- are you sorry you had them?

ANTHONY QUINN: No, I'm not sorry. I mean, I'm giving them everything. But I'm kind of swamping them with information about pop and mom and the world, and so forth.

My daughter is one of the brightest kids, really. I mean...

KING: I would imagine. You're funneling into her, right?

ANTHONY QUINN: I'm funneling everything. I have a library -- have a huge library with all my books. And I say, "These books are all for you. You got to read them all. I read them all."

KING: But do you get down on the floor and play with them?

ANTHONY QUINN: Oh my gosh, yes. Every night, she puts on a ballet show. And it's a great show. It's a great show.

KING: When you look at that side -- and there's so much to talk about in your career; I want to take care of that -- but when you look at that side of your life -- early marriages, children grown up, young children...

ANTHONY QUINN: I really -- I say to my...

KING: What do you...

ANTHONY QUINN: I say to my other kids -- I say to one -- I have a son who is a great son to me, Lorenzo Quinn. And he's in Spain now. And I talk to him. And he's seen me with the kids. And I say to him, you know -- Larry, I hope you don't mind -- but this is the happiest period I've ever had in my life. I've never been this happy. I never knew life could be like this. And I'm ecstatic about life at the moment.

KING: So are you saying to people, no matter what age you are, go for it?

ANTHONY QUINN: I mean, they say, he's too old, and he's this, and that -- I mean, my father died when I was eight years old. I mean ...

KING: Mine, I was 10.

ANTHONY QUINN: Exactly. So I mean -- I mean, there's no sense that you're there forever. No parent is there forever. So I won't be here forever with these kids.

So I mean -- but as long as I'm there, I'm going to be the best...

KING: So...

ANTHONY QUINN: ... parent possible.

KING: ... all your life you've gone for it, right? You've chased the fox.

ANTHONY QUINN: Yes, absolutely, yes.

My son said that the reason I -- they asked him, "Why does your father keep having children? He's got 13 now; is he going to have any more?" He says, "No, but he's going to have them until he finds the perfect son or the perfect daughter."

KING: And this boy's name is Ryan, right?


KING: Lest we forget, you are half Irish.

ANTHONY QUINN: Yes, half Irish.

KING: Quinn -- your name is Anthony Quinn.

ANTHONY QUINN: Yes. Anthony Quinn, yes.

KING: So your father was Irish?

ANTHONY QUINN: Half Irish, yes.

KING: Your mother was Mexican.


KING: How did they meet?

ANTHONY QUINN: Oh, the Irish were building the railroads down through Mexico, through Chihuahua. They finished the railroads when they finished out in the West Coast, and they went down and put the trains into Mexico.

KING: You were one of how many children?


KING: That's all?

ANTHONY QUINN: That's all.

KING: And you were -- you told me once you sketched things -- you used to hang around...


KING: ... in front of studios. You sketched Douglas Fairbanks. ANTHONY QUINN: That's right.

KING: Paid you money for a sketch.

ANTHONY QUINN: Douglas Fairbanks, Rudolpho Valentino, Ramona Varrow (ph).

KING: You were a kid painting. You were drawing.

ANTHONY QUINN: Yes. Yes, yes, yes. And Douglas Fairbanks sent me a check for $25. The best money -- my father was only earning -- poor man -- $24 a week. And here his six-year-old son made $25, made more money than he.

KING: You were saying before we began that maybe you should have just been an artist. Yet, you're generally regarded now as a great sculptor and artist.

ANTHONY QUINN: Yeah, but I mean, it's a second profession for me. And I started that very late.

KING: You think you would have done better work had that been it?

ANTHONY QUINN: I would have been known. I would have been known. I mean, you know, actors lives -- you're forgotten. Look at Barrymore, and look at all the great actors. They're forgotten after awhile. I mean, some of those ...

KING: The painter leaves his...

ANTHONY QUINN: The painter leaves his mark. And I just put in two statues in Rhode Island that I'm working on. And I think that's going to make me last longer than me. I mean, who remembers "Zorba?" Nobody remembers "Zorba." Nobody remembers "Requiem for a Heavyweight."

KING: You really believe that?

ANTHONY QUINN: Really. I mean, they're fading. I mean, pictures fade. And...

KING: That's what Brando says.

ANTHONY QUINN: I mean, he's right. By the way, he was wonderful on your show. He's a...

KING: Who could ever forget you and him?


KING: In "Zapata." You got an Academy Award for that.

ANTHONY QUINN: Yes. But Marlin and I had done "A Streetcar Named Desire" first. I did a play the same year he -- 1947 -- I appeared in a -- in a play called, "Gentleman from Athens." KING: You were both on Broadway at the same...

ANTHONY QUINN: Yes, yes. My play closed, and his was a great hit. And he made a tremendous, tremendous -- he had an impact on the world of acting. He -- I mean, all the acting that had been done before was forgotten when Marlin appeared.

KING: What was it like working with him?

ANTHONY QUINN: He's a lovely -- a strange, strange -- with this funny, wonderful nose that he had punched off with some guy in the basement of...

KING: And he's funny.

ANTHONY QUINN: And he's very funny. Wonderful sense of humor.

KING: Let me get a break right there.

We'll come right back with more of this delightful hour with Anthony Quinn. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Who you think he is?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Stranger. Look at his clothes.

ANTHONY QUINN: Emiliano, shall I kill him?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: No. Shoot in front of him again.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Careful, don't hit him!

ANTHONY QUINN: When I want to hit him, I hit him; when I want to miss him, I miss him.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: A man has been known to die of a close miss.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Zapata! Hey, Emiliano Zapata!

ANTHONY QUINN: No, he's more stupid than I thought. He's still coming.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You know it's nice to kill crazy people.

ANTHONY QUINN: Hey Maniano, should I try him again? A little closer, eh?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: A little closer? How can he come closer? Maybe he has a message.

ANTHONY QUINN: Look. Maybe it's a trap. Why don't we kill him? It's so much easier instead of so much worry. What does it cost -- one little bullet...






ANTHONY QUINN: You better be careful what you say to me.

MARLON BRANDO, ACTOR: Did you take the land away from these people?

ANTHONY QUINN: I took what I wanted. I took their wives, too.

BRANDO: What kind of an animal are you?

ANTHONY QUINN: I'm a man, not a freak like my brother!

BRANDO: Get out!

ANTHONY QUINN: Look, I fought as long and as hard as you did! Every day you fought, I fought! I'm a general! Look -- look, he's my pay; a little dust!



KING: We're back with the great actor, sculptor, artist, father, husband, lover -- very young 81-year old Anthony Quinn, who keeps on keeping on.

Let's finish on Brando, and working with him in "Zapata."

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, Marlon -- Marlon was...

KING: What was it like, though, to work together? You had some great scenes.

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, yes. Kazan said we should spend as much time together -- we were playing brothers.

KING: Right.

ANTHONY QUINN: I was his older brother. And he was the leader of the revolution, and so forth. And he said, "You guys have to act like brothers, I mean -- and you have to know each other very well." So he said, "I want you to ride to location together."

Now, Marlon and I -- for some reason, even today -- even today, we can't say two words to each other. We really can't talk to each other. You know, I say to him -- Marlon can't talk. I mean, he'd talk to you. But he can't talk.

KING: Basically, he can't...

ANTHONY QUINN: Basically, he can't talk. He's a great speaker. He's a great speaker. But in conversations, he doesn't know what to say.

So, we were driving the car in the morning to location. And he'd look at me, and I'd look at him, and I said, "What the hell am I going to say to this guy? He's supposed to be my brother." And he'd say, "What the hell am I supposed to say to Tony?"

And so he'd say -- and he says, "How far you going?" I said, "What do you mean?" He says, "Yeah, how far you going? You just picked up a ride. Where you going?" He'd start improvising. And he'd start -- and he'd say, "I'm only driving up to Indiana. You going any further than that?" And I'd have to act with him. So I'd say, "No, I'm only going to Brownsville. And I'll get off at Brownsville." He says, "Oh yeah, you got a job there or something?" We'd...

KING: Play scenes.

ANTHONY QUINN: We'd play scenes.

KING: Yet on screen, magic.

ANTHONY QUINN: Yeah, I must say, we are. I was terribly sorry we never made another picture.

KING: Are you...

ANTHONY QUINN: I offered him a picture once. Yeah, I offered him a picture, just before -- he came to see me one day. And there was a script on the -- on the -- on the -- on the table. And I said, "Marlon, I've got to talk to you." I said, "I want you to make a picture with me. We're going to make a picture about Pancho Villa. And I start playing Pancho Villa, and you play the guy that kills me." And then I told him -- so he says -- and he said, "You'll never get it done, Tony." I said, "Why not?" I said, "Because nobody wants to hire me." And he's leafing the script that's on the table. And we talk.

And I say, "Yes -- I don't care." I said, "Listen, I'm getting $1 million -- " at that time, I was getting -- "I'm getting $1 million; I'll give you $500,000, I'll take $500,000. Then we own part of the picture." He says, it'll never be -- you can't even get 50 for me." And he's leafing the script.

KING: Not the "Pancho Villa" script. It's another script.

ANTHONY QUINN: No, another script. And he's leafing -- so I said, "Why not? And he says, "Well, nobody wants me. I'm through. I'm burned out. Ten years, I haven't made a good picture."

So we stayed there for 12 hours talking to him about the story. So finally he gets up -- he says, "Well, all right. I mean you can propose me to Paramount if you want, but I don't think they'll hire me."

Says -- "By the way," he says, "What's that script you got there?" I said, "It's a terrible script they just sent me, and I'm to play a part in it." And he says, "Yeah, well, what" -- I said, "It's `The Godfather.'" He says, "Oh, yeah? OK. See you later."

KING: Do -- they asked you to play the...

ANTHONY QUINN: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

KING: You turned it down?

ANTHONY QUINN: I thought it was a terrible script.

KING: Are you a -- are you a film actor who does stage? Is stage secondary?

ANTHONY QUINN: I love the stage. I wish -- I wish they paid enough to do it. I mean, they don't pay enough. And then, you know, I mean, to stay there -- I did a play for four years -- "Zorba the Greek," for four years.

KING: The music. You sang.

ANTHONY QUINN: I did the play for four years; my goodness.

KING: But you got to give it -- you always give it all every night, though, right?

ANTHONY QUINN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Must say -- nobody ever did four years without bringing in an understudy, and so forth.

KING: Was "Zorba" -- was "Zorba," the film, your biggest film?

ANTHONY QUINN: I don't think so. I mean, I -- you know, it's funny; actors are strange. I mean, some of the pictures in which -- that were not great hits -- I think I was the bravest in. I mean, I think I was courageous.

I did a picture with Robert Taylor and Ava Gardner called -- oh God, what is it called -- "Courageous" something. And Bob Taylor and I played brothers. Bob Taylor and I playing brothers. And I was a Mexican bandit. And he was the sheriff of the town. And we loved each other. We loved each other very much.

Well, one day, he got a complaint from me, that I was a drunk and I was shooting up the streets. And he had to come to me. And he said, "Listen, Ramon, you've got to behave yourself. You can't come into town and shoot up. I'm the police the here, you. So you got to behave yourself. And please, don't do this, or else I'm going to have to throw you out."

Say, "You want to throw me out? You, my brother, you're going to throw me out?" He says, "Well, I'll have to, you know. They pay me for this. And they've asked me to throw you out." I say, "You can't throw me out." He says, "Please." I said, "No. You've brought up a very important thing. You think you can out shoot me?" He says, "Yes, I can." I said, "Let's see, then. Let's see who can out shoot."

And we start -- and he says, "I don't want to shoot you. But I'm telling you, you're not my brother anymore." And he walks out. And I cry. I cry. And I look around, and I hop in bed, and I go into my corner. The best acting I ever done. Was courageous, it was -- it had freedom.

The director was wonderful, Johnny Farrow. Mia Farrow's father.

KING: When you say courageous, what do you mean?

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, I mean, you have an emotion, you want to express it. You don't just look in the camera and do it. You want to hide from the embarrassment of your brother saying you're not allowed to come into my town.

KING: Brando told me that the great actor goes the extra mile. He doesn't want to do that anymore. He doesn't want to pay that price.

ANTHONY QUINN: I do. I do. I mean...

KING: You're willing to pay that price.

ANTHONY QUINN: Oh, gosh. I mean, I may have to go five miles extra. I mean -- you know, I mean -- like the picture you just mentioned, when I played Nio de le Coche (ph) in Gade (ph). I mean, it was a difficult part. It really was a very difficult part. Because the guy's sick, and he's dying. But he's still living -- he's still living by...

KING: A code.

ANTHONY QUINN: A code, a code, of what the Sicilian is, and what the Sicilian law it. And he tells -- and he tells them all the laws about, you know, you can't work out a man from another man's family; you got to get the head man's OK.

So I mean, it's wonderful. I mean...

KING: And you like that.

ANTHONY QUINN: I love that.

KING: We'll be right back with more of Anthony Quinn.

Jackie Gleason told me once about his friend, Anthony Quinn. Great line, when they did "Requiem": "Anthony Quinn does not act; he marinates."

We'll be right back.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You got to quit, Mountain. You can't fight anymore.

ANTHONY QUINN: Why? Because I got knocked out? Don't everybody get knocked out and lose? Even Patterson -- why, that's crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: All right, it's crazy. Maybe I think it's crazy. But that's what the doc says. Go fight the commission.

ANTHONY QUINN: So you're gonna take some of my (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Listen, listen. The doc said if you take a couple more bangs on that left eye, you're going to have to end up selling pencils. You've got sclerotic damage.





UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Aren't you Andreas Stavruk (ph)? Colonel Stavruk.

ANTHONY QUINN: No, sir. May name is Nando Solomicus (ph). I told you I'm a fisherman from Cyprus.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Then how did you happen to wear a shoulder holster?

ANTHONY QUINN: They forced me to wear it, and made it a kind of joke.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: And where are the explosives?

ANTHONY QUINN: I would tell you if I knew. But -- see, they didn't say. The truth is, sir, they don't trust me.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I don't blame them.



KING: You told me once that every role you played, you gave 100 percent. So whether it was a B movie, a C movie; whether it failed, whether it flopped...


KING: ... or whether it was "Zorba"...

ANTHONY QUINN: Even in "Television Spy", I was the best, you know...

KING: You would always give -- to you, you gave your all.

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, I had to. Because I was brought up by the Russians -- by the Stanislavski method. And -- by the Russians -- not the American Stanislavski, but by the Russian.

KING: Which is?

ANTHONY QUINN: Akin Tomirov (ph) and Chekhov were my teachers.

KING: And that method would be different from the American in what way?

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, yes. When the Americans went to see Stanislavski in Moscow, and they said, "We'll use your method," he said, "What is that?" He said, "We use the Stanislavski method." He says -- and he asked them to -- he says, "No, no, no no." He says, "That is not my method. I hire the gardener, I hire the maid. So I have to have a language for them. That's my method; I have a language with these people. But gee, I didn't know I was that complicated." And he laughed at them.

But anyway, the...

KING: Well, but you were the kind, though, who -- part of that method was to feel the pain, right?

ANTHONY QUINN: You're starting to feel it, yes.

KING: If you were playing a scene in pain, you had to feel the pain.

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, you have to feel a pain like it, yes.

KING: Right. And you would also want to be the character. You would think about the character.

ANTHONY QUINN: I was completely the character. I had to be completely the character in a picture you just mentioned, "Lust for Life." I was Gauguin. And I saw Kirk Douglas acting a scene, and he was wonderful; my gosh, he was a wonderful Van Gogh. And I said, "How am I going to be able to talk to that man? He's Van Gogh. I've got to be Gauguin." So I...

KING: So what do you do? You read about Gauguin?

ANTHONY QUINN: I studied all about Gauguin. He was a banker. He was a banker who -- he used to paint on Sundays. And one day he hated himself for painting on Sundays. And he went to his wife, and says, "I want to paint every day. I'm not going to be a banker anymore." Says, "How are we going to live?" He says, "Well, we'll see. I think I can sell my paintings." And his wife left him -- left him one child to take care of.

And his life was really... KING: He goes to Tahiti.

ANTHONY QUINN: Goes to Tahiti.

KING: But you're trying to find this person.

ANTHONY QUINN: Yeah, but I found him. I mean, I...

KING: Obviously.

ANTHONY QUINN: ... found the man inside of me, I found how depressing it was to give up your life for an art. My God, that's...

KING: So even though the scene you were playing may not have dealt with when he gave up his life for his art...

ANTHONY QUINN: But it was.

KING: You bring that to it, right?

ANTHONY QUINN: Because I had to fight with Van Gogh, Kirk Douglas; had to fight his way of painting and my way of painting. And I said to him, "You paint too fast." And he says, "You see too fast." I mean, we had a big fight about what our paintings were. And, I mean, I had to defend...

KING: But then do you start to -- as Gleason said -- do you start to think Gauguin, feel like Gauguin?

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, I marinate, as he said. I mean, I do. And I love that. I mean, I loved...

KING: Jackie...

ANTHONY QUINN: ... Jackie saying...

KING: He loved you.

ANTHONY QUINN: ... that I marinated. Because it's true. He says, "I'm going to give Quinn one more `I think.'"

KING: Yeah.

ANTHONY QUINN: And then he ...

KING: Every time before you'd shoot a scene, Quinn would go, "I think..." As Gleason one day said, "I think we ought to finish this."

We'll be right back with more of Anthony Quinn. We're only halfway through on this LARRY KING WEEKEND tribute to one of the greats, a living legend. Don't go away.


ANTHONY QUINN: I don't want control. I'm not afraid of emotion. When I paint the sun, I want to make people feel it revolving, giving off light and heat. When I paint a pheasant in the field, I want to feel the sun pouring into him like it does in the ...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Is that what you think you're doing when you overload your brush? When you slap paint on like putty, when you make your trees writhe like snakes, and your sun explode all over the canvas? With all your talk and motion, what I see when I look at your work is just that you paint too fast.

QUINN: You look too fast!





KING: We're back on LARRY KING WEEKEND, with an hour with Anthony Quinn.

Let's go back to "Zorba" a little. Where did you find that...

ANTHONY QUINN: That was a marvelous story. That was a marvelous story.

I was supposed to do a conventional Greek dance. But three or four days before, the teleferik (ph), this thing that we had built to send down the logs, broke. I mean, that came down at 1,000 miles an hour. And it hit the platform. And I went over, 20 feet, and I dropped on some rocks, and I broke my foot.

And so everybody got panicked, because three days -- we only had -- my gosh, we only had $700,000 to make the whole picture. The whole picture was $700,000 that I had borrowed from Mr. Zanek (ph). Darrell Zanek had loaned me $700,000 to make this picture that I was crazy about. And he thought I was in trouble with a girl. I said, "No, I want to make a picture, Darrell." Says, "Oh, OK." So he sent me 700,000.

So we were out of money. And we were supposed to do the dance on the beach...

KING: With Alan Bates.

ANTHONY QUINN: Yeah, Alan Bates. And -- the next day. And I was supposed to teach him a Greek dance, the hopping -- and the usual handkerchief, and running around, and so forth.

So I said to Mr. Cacoyannis -- I said...

KING: The director.

ANTHONY QUINN: ... the director -- I said, "I can't do the hopping." He says, "What are we going to do?" I said, "Listen, you set the music, and I'll do something."





KING: When it played, and this movie was such a hit, and everyone talked about that scene -- then you were not surprised. You knew you had something special.

And "Lawrence of Arabia." How did you get that incredible part?

ANTHONY QUINN: I love David Lean. Peter O'Toole is a wonderful actor...

KING: Omar Sharif.

ANTHONY QUINN: ... and Omar Sharif. They were wonderful people...

KING: That was their first major movie, though.

ANTHONY QUINN: Yeah, yeah. And I had known Peter O'Toole before in London. And I'd liked him very much. And the thought of being in a picture with him was very challenging to me. And he was playing the starring role.

And I must tell you, I must tell you -- I went -- I went to be interviewed by David Lean on a terribly hot day in summer in Jordan. And I arrived with a sweater and looking rather silly in this desert with a sweater, and so forth. And he said he wanted to see me. I said, "My God, if I arrive in this sweater, and all -- like I am, I mean, he's going to say, 'What is this guy? I mean, is he going to play Ada Butai (ph), he can't.'"

So I went to the makeup cabin. And a friend of mine was the makeup man. And I said, "Make me look -- put a beard on me. And give me ..." And then my then wife dressed me up in a bornoos (ph), and so forth. And sitting in front of this makeup place, with about 1,000 Arab people, sitting there, protected from the sun under some huge rocks. They were sitting, and then, when they finished makeup, I got out, and some men got up and he says: "Auda, Auda abu Tayi, Auda!"

So, then, we had to walk around the hill to come to go to see David Lean, who was doing a scene with Peter O'Toole. So, as we're walking down, "Auda, Auda abu Tayi, (SPEAKING ARABIC)" marching behind me, yelling "Auda abu Tayi." And I'm told that David Lean looked up, and he saw me coming around, and he says: "Who is that?" And the assistant director says: "I don't know, but they're calling him Auda abu Tayi." Lean says: "Absolutely. I want to get that man, and please fire Anthony Quinn."

KING: That's great. We will be right back with more of the great Tony Quinn. Don't go away.


ANTHONY QUINN: I am Auda abu Tayi.



ANTHONY QUINN: I carry 23 great wound, all got in battle, 75 men have I killed with my own hands in battle. I scatter, I burn my enemies' tents. I take away their flocks and herds. The Turks pay my a golden treasure, yet I am poor because I am a river to my people.


ANTHONY QUINN: Is that service?



KING: Welcome back.

We're showcasing highlights from some of our interviews with the late Anthony Quinn on this edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND. The two- time Academy Award winner died last Sunday at age 86. Quinn packed a lot of living into his time on earth. The last time he joined us on this program was April, 2000. He was enjoying a retrospective of his artwork at a gallery in San Francisco. Considering all the jobs he'd in his early years, I wondered how he ended up acting.


KING: Why did you become an actor? You were a butcher, a boxer, an artist. You had a scholarship to study architecture with Frank Lloyd Wright? Frank Lloyd Wright. Why acting?

ANTHONY QUINN: I didn't intend to become an actor. Frank Lloyd Wright sent me to a doctor to improve my speech. He said, you know, if you're going to be an architect, you have to change people's lives, you have talk to them persuasively and use fancy language -- and what's the matter, Tony? I said, I don't know, I talk all right. He said no, I'm going to send you to my doctor. Sent me to his doctor, and the doctor look under my tongue and he snipped it, and he had a little septum.

KING: How did that lead to acting?

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, then I went back from a...


ANTHONY QUINN: And so he said, my goodness, you've got to learn to talk, to speak, and he send me to an...

KING: You took acting class. ANTHONY QUINN: Catherine Hamill (ph), on Cowenga (ph) and Hollywood Boulevard. He sent me to her, and I wouldn't accept. I mean, he was paying for the doctors -- I said, no, I'm going to take care of this myself. I used to do the janitor work for her.

KING: Really?


KING: And she taught you diction, and...

ANTHONY QUINN: She liked me. And it was interesting, she liked me, and she taught me Shakespeare, an she taught -- and one day she put me in a play of Noel Coward's called "Hayfever," and then, you know...

KING: You liked it right away?

ANTHONY QUINN: I liked acting. I liked -- well, it was creative. For a Mexican boy from East Los Angeles to play an English man was kind of...

KING: By the way, as an aside, what was Frank Lloyd Wright like?

ANTHONY QUINN: I lost my father was I 10 years old, and I always looked for a father. I missed my father very much. And I loved Frank Lloyd Wright. I think he was the greatest man I have ever met in my life. I fell madly in love with him as a father, and we had a great...

KING: He was cantankerous, was he not?

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, no, I mean, he just wanted things his way.

KING: He knew what he liked?

ANTHONY QUINN: He knew what he liked and he wanted -- I went to his studio, one day. My God, he was designing buildings in India and he was designing buildings in South America, and he had more projects going -- it was fantastic.

KING: Was he the best architect we've ever had?

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, to me he was, of course, to me was.

KING: Yes, you're prejudiced, but he was the best.

ANTHONY QUINN: No, I'm not prejudiced; I'm biased.


KING: Did you like acting right away?

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, I called him and I said, Mr. Wright, what can I do? Universal offered me a contract $300 a week. He says take it. You'll never get that money from me. KING: What was your first movie?

ANTHONY QUINN: "Night Waitress" or something, I can't remember.

KING: Why did you get cast so much as Indians. For a long time, we didn't know you were a real good actor.

ANTHONY QUINN: Yes, but those time, I mean, those are the times, Larry. I mean, a Mexican boy couldn't be anything else but an Indian. And why did you take the name of Quinn, they used to say to me. Hey, you're an Indian, so I played Indians.



ANTHONY QUINN: And every living tribe between mountains and great waters will gather in one last battle. It will be the end of themselves, their gods, the spirits of their fathers, and of their enemies. (SPEAKING UNIDENTIFIED LANGUAGE)




KING: We're back with Anthony Quinn, who, as you should well know, is a brilliant artist and sculptor as well, has been for a long time. His works are shown all over the world. There's a current retrospective at the Richard Thomas Galleries in San Francisco. You can see all of his work on as well, and buy on the Internet.

Let's look at a self-portrait of Anthony Quinn. Now how do you paint -- that's brilliant, by the way, brilliant. How do you paint yourself?

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, you use a lot of mirrors, for one thing.

KING: Right, you have to have a model.

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, and then you start painting, and then you get mad at yourself, and you say, I've got a big line here, and put it on, and I've got high cheekbones and -- but it's -- you paint, colors over colors.

And the interesting thing is that because -- a painter -- there's two people that paint a painter, the guy with a brush and the guy with a hammer tells him when to stop.

KING: Do you get as much enjoyment out of painting as you do acting?

ANTHONY QUINN: I think more, I think more, Larry, because I hope -- I mean, I don't know how long I'm going to live as an actor. But you know, I was in Libya once, and I went out in the desert, and I saw these miles and miles and miles of sculptures in bronze and stone scattered around the desert. The Phoenicians had been there, the Greeks had been there, the Romans had been there, and left them there in the sand. And those were absolutely gorgeous.

KING: Been there forever.


KING: Tell me about this piece.

ANTHONY QUINN: That's Zorba dancing, and once somebody wanted the -- there is two of them. One is -- I -- the thing -- the thing is that I did this of myself, and it's now a sculpture 9 foot tall.

KING: You did one that big and this one, right?


KING: Do you like sculpting as much as painting?

ANTHONY QUINN: I liked sculpting better than painting. You have more freedom in sculpting. I mean, people don't say, "What is that muscle (ph)?" they just look at it.

But I've gotten to love painting, actually because I can't sculpt as much as I used to. I can't hold up the hammer.

KING: Do you have arthritis?

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, kind of.

KING: Everyone has arthritis.


ANTHONY QUINN: That's right.

KING: But do you actually get as much a kick out of -- and you -- it's not easy to own a Quinn, right? I mean, you've got to have a little bread.

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, I mean, bread, I mean, I've got to have bread too to live.

KING: What does a painting -- isn't...

ANTHONY QUINN: I wouldn't. No, no, please. I...

KING: OK. You'd be embarrassed.

ANTHONY QUINN: I'd be embarrassed. First of all, I only get 50 percent of it, because, I mean, the galleries get 50 and 60 percent. I mean, that's normal. I understand that. I don't quarrel with that.

But I mean, you don't get all that money that you are quoted that you're getting.

KING: But isn't it an honor to know that you hang in homes all over the world?

ANTHONY QUINN: That is the greatest...

KING: ... and museums.

ANTHONY QUINN: That is the greatest honor, as a matter of fact. You know, you walk around the streets (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I saw you in "The Moon and the Misbegotten," and you say, oh, thank you very much. And -- but they say, "I own a painting of yours, and it hangs right over my bed," and my god, and oh, gosh, I'd like to be -- you know what I mean? And you feel that you're really sharing an experience with them.

KING: Got to have a Quinn. I've got to have a Quinn. Finally, I can afford a Quinn.

Anthony Quinn is our guest. We'll be taking your calls. We have some surprise drop-ins and calls as well. He's going to be 85 on Friday.

More with Tony after this.



KING: More highlights from our last interview with Anthony Quinn. Joining him for that 2000 conversation was James Coburn, his co-star in the 1965 film, "A High Wind in Jamaica." I asked Coburn what it was like to work with Quinn.


JAMES COBURN, ACTOR: With this guy?

KING: Yes.

COBURN: It wasn't work. It was play, it was play.

KING: But he does marinate, doesn't he?

COBURN: Oh, listen, no, I mean, he's the man for all reasons. I mean, he's got every reason to live, and he made every one of them really very, very powerful.

I mean, coming out of -- I mean, it's such a kick just to see that he's still here kicking, man. Not only kicking, turning...

ANTHONY QUINN: We had -- we played one of the greatest moments. In that picture, "High Wind in Jamaica," there was one moment that I adore in that picture with him. We were being taken out. We were going to be hanged. Why in the hell are they doing this to us to us? And he says, well, you and I, we must have done something wrong. And it was a wonderful line.

KING: How old are you, James?

COBURN: I'm 71, yes.

KING: So you feel like a kid with him, right?


KING: He's 14 years older.

COBURN: Yes, I know, but I mean, age isn't important in our business anyway. I mean, you can always pick up a thing and -- but to continue acting, continue turning out these characters that Anthony has been known for, I mean -- I mean, he does it with such grace and such...

KING: And we got another Academy Award sitting here.

ANTHONY QUINN: Yes, of course, of course.

KING: And all for supporting actors.

ANTHONY QUINN: I voted for him.

COBURN: Yes. Did you really?


KING: When you work with someone, Jim, if you can explain this for the layman...

COBURN: Yes. KING: ... working with an Anthony Quinn -- we asked him before -- does that elevate you?

COBURN: Oh absolutely -- I mean, sure. I mean, it's like playing tennis, you know?

KING: The better the player, the better you play.

COBURN: But acting has something to do with...

KING: There they are in "High Wind."

ANTHONY QUINN: Boy, you were skinny. Look at that.

KING: James Coburn with an 11 waist.

COBURN: Ooh, yes. I mean, Mr. Skinny, yes.

KING: But when you work with him, is he a giving actor, Jim?

COBURN: Well, yes, of course. All good actors are. But I mean, there's a thing that takes place when you're working with somebody, I mean, with somebody you're really working with, there's a connection. It's not -- I haven't -- it's impossible to explain. But nevertheless, there is a connection that you don't have.

I mean, you could be walking around the set and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) as soon as -- bang, something connects, and it's one of those joyous experiences. I mean, when you're working with somebody like Quinn, or I mean, working with Quinn, it's a joyous experience. I mean, I was really happy on that, skinny and all.

KING: But all of you could be sitting around talking to each other...

ANTHONY QUINN: An actor's a funny character, because he goes on a set and he works with a lot of actors, I mean, a lot of actors around, and he looks around for someone he can follow. And this guy was, my god, my island, and I would count on him to give me the right look.




KING: We are now joined, Anthony Quinn and I, by the Quinn family, the new Quinn family. Sitting on his lap is his young son -- is his daughter Antonia. She is 6 1/2. Correct? Not 6, 6 1/2.

ANTHONY QUINN: That's right.

KING: And his lovely wife, Kathy, and on her lap is Ryan, who is 3 years old. Correct?


Ryan, why are you staring at me like this, Ryan? You're making it very hard.

ANTHONY QUINN: You've seen him a million times on TV, haven't you?


ANTHONY QUINN: That's right. He's a great fan of yours.

KING: Antonia, what's your daddy like?



KING: Yes. He's good to you. He takes you to school.

ANTONIA ANTHONY QUINN: I love my daddy. He's the best daddy in the world.

ANTHONY QUINN: Oh, my gosh, honey. You didn't have to say that.

KING: Kathy, was it -- let's be frank. Everybody is thinking it. Was it difficult to fall in love with a man much older than you?



K. ANTHONY QUINN: No, no, no. Not difficult, not at all. We fell in love the first day we met, we fell in love with each other.

KING: And you had a tough time then. You had (UNINTELLIGIBLE) an unhappy marriage, you had to live with that?

ANTHONY QUINN: I tell you, it was a strange thing, because, I mean, when Kathy walked into the room, I knew that this was going to happen. I just knew. I mean, I read the future, and I said, well...

KING: You're going to have children with her.

ANTHONY QUINN: I'm going to have children. I'm going to have a wonderful, wonderful -- life with her. And I've had a wonderful, wonderful life with her.

KING: How old are you, Kathy?


KING: All right. And so he's 50 -- almost 50 years older than you.


KING: So you have to face the fact that even though he's indestructible and he is forever and we all love him, it's going to be tough in a while, right?

ANTHONY QUINN: No, she's going to bury me under that tree and we'll go out...

KING: Visit the tree.


KING: No, really. Do you think...

K. ANTHONY QUINN: I believe -- I do think about it, but I believe very strongly in that people never really die, that they're always with us. And I know Tony will always be with us. He'll always be very close to us, and he's so much a part of the kids' lives.

ANTHONY QUINN: My father has been with me all these years. My grandmother has been with me. So I don't think...

KING: So people don't go away?

ANTHONY QUINN: No, people don't go away.

KING: Ryan, why -- Ryan, you have an Irish name. Do you know that?

Yes. Why is he named Ryan? Is there Irish in your background?

ANTHONY QUINN: Oh, yes, my grandfather was Irish, and he was -- he was with a visiting bunch of Irish that came to fight in the revolution in Mexico. So he's the living picture of my grandfather, and...

KING: How do you like Rhode Island?


KING: Antonia, do you like Rhode Island?


ANTHONY QUINN: Oh, it's great place, great place.

KING: What grade are you in?

ANTONIA ANTHONY QUINN: I'm in first grade.

KING: Yes. You're doing good in school?



KING: Oh, you do poetry.


ANTHONY QUINN: Voracious little...

KING: Yes? Do you write poetry?


KING: Do you know any poem?


KING: Go ahead. Give me a little. Anything.

ANTONIA ANTHONY QUINN: I don't know any of mine.

KING: You don't know them by heart?


KING: No. And Ryan, what do you want to be when you grow up?

ANTHONY QUINN: Football player?

KING: That wouldn't be bad.

ANTHONY QUINN: Boxer? A boxer? You want to be a boxer, a football player?

KING: Why is your father so great, Antonia?

ANTONIA ANTHONY QUINN: Because he plays with me a lot.


ANTHONY QUINN: I don't know. I'm -- I guess I'm a good father, because I'm vitally, vitally interested in the future of my children. I love these two kids so much. I love several of my kids a great deal. I have a son in Barcelona whom I am madly in love with.

KING: How many children do you have?

ANTHONY QUINN: Thirteen, 13 children, and I love -- I love them all. And I think I've been a good father to all of them.

KING: How good a father is he, Kathy?

K. ANTHONY QUINN: He's a great father. He participates in their lives 100 percent. He's there every single morning. I mean, when I first met Tony, he used to sleep until 10, 11 o'clock in the morning, because he used to perform every night. And now he's up at 6:00 so that he can take her to school at 7:00. And then he gets to work after breakfast, and he pains and he sculpts, and then he's ready when she gets home from school to, to go out and play in the yard with them, push them on the swings, go for long walks.

He loves to take -- and he takes all the kids in the neighborhood for walks.

KING: What are you singing?

ANTHONY QUINN: What are you singing, Ryan? Do you have a song you want to sing? KING: What were you just singing? You were just singing a song, Ryan.

ANTONIA ANTHONY QUINN: Do you want to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle"?

KING: Was that it? Do you know it, Antonia?



ANTONIA ANTHONY QUINN: No, he can sing it.

KING: You can do it. He was -- he was chicken.


ANTHONY QUINN: Sing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

RYAN QUINN, SON OF ANTHONY QUINN (singing): Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are. R. QUINN AND ANTONIA QUINN (singing): ... up above the world so high like a diamond in the sky. Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are.


KING: That's it for this special look back at Anthony Quinn, a man of tremendous talent and heart. Truly larger than life. He'll be much missed.

Thanks for watching; good night.