Oral History: Anthony Quinn, Fantasy and Real Life

by Jack Tewksbury August 2, 2019
Actor Anthony Quinn, Golden Globe winner and Cecil B.deMille recipient

With his wife Yolanda Addolori at the 44th Golden Globes, 1987.

hfpa archives

For over 40 years the HFPA has recorded famous and celebrated actresses, actors and filmmakers. The world's largest collection of its kind - over 10,000  items - is now in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences Margaret Herrick Library. In this excerpt from our archives from 1999, Anthony Quinn talks about his Brazilian movie Oriundi, one of his last movies before he died at 86, in June of 2001.

“To me, a picture is not just getting a part. It’s making a statement about my life. The man I play is 93 years old. His whole life is a fantasy now. One day he fantasizes the love of his life comes to his house. She is a 23-year-old girl. 

He starts imagining that his wife is alive so h  has a great problem. At 93, he has not been inactive.  He has gotten a woman who pushes him in the wheelchair and she is not bad-looking, so for the moment he’s alright but he still loves his wife.

The story is about an old man finding happiness and I’m all for that because I used to be looking. I found it in a young woman, I am in love with now.  In the movie, the 23-year-old comes to visit him in real life.  Instead of being happy, he is furious at her like I would if I were 93.  He says- what the hell are you doing here? You come to see me when I am an old man?  When the girl realizes that he is angry with her, she leaves.  What is his fantasy now?  What is he going to think now about life? He hears a little boy crying and he goes to see him. He makes a great realization that life is more important than fantasy. But I love the fact that this man could fantasize about his love for this woman.”