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Larry King Live

Anthony Quinn Reflects on His Family, Art and Film Career

Aired April 18, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET


LARRY KING, HOST: tonight, he has a lust for life, on screen and off -- two-time Oscar winner Anthony Quinn. He's about to turn 85. He's here for the full hour. He'll take your calls next on LARRY KING LIVE.

On Friday, April 21, Anthony Quinn will turn 85 years old. He has been on screen forever, going back to the late 1930s. He's made over 150 films. He's received two academy awards. There's a retrospective of his art now at the Richard Thomas Galleries in San Francisco. We'll be seeing some examples of it later. And we'll be having some phone calls and drop-ins as well to kind of celebrate it. And at the end of the show, we are going to meet his two little children and his lovely wife. How does he do it?

What's it like? I'm experiencing it at 66, but you're 85. What's it like being a father again?

ANTHONY QUINN, ACTOR: I tell you, I mean, I think that this time I'm a better father. I'm absolutely madly in love with my two children, not that I don't love the others. I have great love affairs with my other kids. But these kids I haven't spent a day away from. I only spent one day, and I resented that day that I had to go away. I went to Chicago on some business thing, and I didn't get back in time to be with my daughter, and I was terribly sorry. I haven't spent five minutes away from my son, and I've spent all the time with my daughter and...

KING: Do you worry, though, that by the nature of longevity, you're not going to be around?

ANTHONY QUINN: I think we talk about it. I mean, my daughter and I have talked about it. We've told each other I you know, I've got stay with you as long as I can. And it's interesting, because I think she devours knowledge and devours -- and I read poetry to her, and she won a prize at school as the best poetist in the school.

KING: So you're more attentive now?

ANTHONY QUINN: Not only more attentive. I mean, I love experiencing going to school. I drive Antonia to school every morning.

KING: You drive.

ANTHONY QUINN: Yes, absolutely, I drive her to school.

KING: You still live in Rhode Island?

ANTHONY QUINN: Rhode Island, Yes.

KING: You're the only person I know that lives in Rhode Island. Do you talk about that at breakfast? I don't anybody who lives in Rhode Island.

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, a lot of people live in Rhode Island, but I went up there because -- in New York, it was very difficult for me to live, and New York is a very competitive town, and I got tired of competition.

KING: Why not here?

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, here, I mean...

KING: The film colony.

ANTHONY QUINN: I lived the first 50 years of my life here, and I didn't find it here. I grew up on the east side of Los Angeles.

KING: Very poor kid?

ANTHONY QUINN: But I never knew I was poor. That's the difference. I never knew I was poor. I only knew poverty when I came to Hollywood, and I saw the homes -- hey, why don't I have one of those?

KING: You are Mexican-American, right?


KING: You used to sell portraits outside of film studios -- Douglas Fairbanks.

ANTHONY QUINN: Douglas Fairbanks I sold a picture too.

KING: You drew pictures of people.

ANTHONY QUINN: Yes, I was about 6 years old when I drew a picture of Doug Fairbanks; he sent me a check for $25, and my poor father. He only made $24 a week. But you know, in those days, you had breakfast for 8 cents and you could have eggs and waffles.

KING: Let's go back a little. This is a salute to you, Tony. And we'll be taking calls later. And nobody deserves it more.

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 prejudice, 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.

KING: We're going to take a break. And going to this break -- we may ask him to do this later, because he did it for me once in Miami -- do the dance that he did in one of the great movies ever made. Here's Tony Quinn in "Zorba the Greek."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't believe you give a damn about your country.

ANTHONY QUINN: Don't you talk to me like that! Look here, here, here -- nothing on the back. I have done things for my country that would make your hair stand. I have killed, burned villages, raped women, and why? Because they were Turks, or Bulgarians. That's the rotten damn fool I was.



KING: He's worked with some of our best actors, some of our great directors. He's been on stage, in Beckett -- he's just one of the most incredible performers of our time. He's Anthony Quinn. He'll be 85 this Friday. Two best supporting actor Oscars.

What was your -- you appeared in so many movies. But what was the big movie for you? What was the breakthrough movie? ANTHONY QUINN: I think it's always the last one you did. I mean, I did a picture in Brazil recently called "Oriundi" in which I play a 93-year-old man and celebrating his 93rd birthday, and he looks over and he sees a girl over that he remembers. He says, where I have seen that girl? It's his wife, who died 50 years ago. And he sees this young girl over there, and she has come back to Earth because she wants to be with him. She wants to talk to him and...

KING: That's the most recent, and obviously you always give -- you told me once, that whether you're in a b movie or a top movie, you give your 100 percent all the time, right?

ANTHONY QUINN: I look for the truth, Larry. I really look for truth.

KING: In every role you play? But what role was significant in your career that brought you to the attention of this -- "Zorba" exploded for you.


KING: We saw you do "Zorba" on stage as well. But what -- was there a role before that?

ANTHONY QUINN: Yes, I mean, I like to play Gauguin in the picture I got an award for. But Zorba, I think, was the most...

KING: Significant.

ANTHONY QUINN: ... significant role.

KING: Yet your awards were for "Lust for Life" as Gauguin and "Zapata."

ANTHONY QUINN: I was nominated for "Zorba." Nominated for several other pictures, but I love "Zorba," I must say.

KING: Were you a better actor when you worked with better actors?

ANTHONY QUINN: I think that's true of every actor. I mean, if you're not challenged, you're not a good actor. I think the truth to get to the truth of what you're doing -- I know that sometimes at night, I mean, I sit around, I go over the parts I've played, and I wonder which -- in which -- I thought I was rather good as Gauguin, because in Gauguin, I was challenged, because I loved Gauguin's paintings, and I remember sitting there next to Kirk Douglas, and he was playing Van Gogh, and they were shooting me and somebody whispered, "Hey, stand up straight, " and as I said "Excuse me, I'm listening." And he says, and he came and said "I haven't said anything." He said, "I think Gauguin is talking to me."


KING: You see, Tony, that's been one of your problems. As the late Jackie Gleason once told me about you, Anthony Quinn does not act, he marinates.

ANTHONY QUINN: That's right. That's right.

KING: You would like to know everything about a character, right? If you're playing a 43-year-old man, you want to know what he is like when he is 20, right, why?

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, I think I guess -- I mean, what I think was a problem was that I wasn't happy with Tony Quinn as he was, and I probably still am not. I'm not happy with Tony Quinn. So when they give me a character to play, like Gauguin or like the pope, that I played once, or any character they play, I want to find out all about him.

I remember once I was playing -- I was acting in a picture about the pope, and I was going home from work, and I was very pope-ish at the time, and driving up the hill in Rome, and thinking of the scene that I just did, and saying, yes, that is fine, and coming down the hill is a man beating the heck out of his girlfriend or somebody in the car, and I saw that, and I said, my God, what's happened? So I said, well, never mind.

And my conscience said, Tony, you're playing the pope. You can't let a man beat up the girl. So follow him. I said, come on, come on. I said, you're playing the pope, the pope wouldn't allow that to happen. He says, Tony follow him. I say, come on, I mean, traffic is against me, I can't.

And finally, he challenged me so much I turned the car and zoomed on -- I was in a Maserati at the time. And I zoomed down, and five miles racing down, I finally ran in front of him, stopped, and when he skidded to a stop, then I got of the car. And I said -- he says, and he took out a gun and says, "What do you want?" I said, no, just...


KING: Hey, goodbye.

ANTHONY QUINN: Goodbye. But anyway.

KING: You were famous for "I think," though, right? Before shooting the scene, Anthony Quinn would say "I think." David Lean -- you changed whole scenes based on where the sun would rise, right, "Lawrence of Arabia"? Did you know, by the way, that "Arabia" would be that big of a hit?

ANTHONY QUINN: Oh God, thank God. But Dave did was so wonderful. David was one of the great, great, great directors I ever worked with. By God, he was awesome. He was...

KING: That nose he gave you.

ANTHONY QUINN: The nose. But no, that nose is put on by the makeup man, and I arrived early, I arrived at 3:00 in the afternoon. And I said, where is Mr. Lean? He says, well, he's around the corner.

KING: And you had the nose on.

ANTHONY QUINN: No. Then I asked my makeup man to put a nose on me, and I had a picture of the king, so I said put a nose like that on me, so he put a nose on me. Then David put on the makeup, and then we were there about an hour. And I said, well, I want to go see Mr. Lean, and so I walked out there and there were about a thousand Arab people sitting under a cliff. And as I walked out, they stood up and said "Auda, Auda, Auda abu Tayi." They started calling me by their king. Then I walked, I said, fine, and I started walking around, and David Lean was shooting a scene.

And he said, stop. Peter O'Toole, he says, what's happening here? And I was going and all the Arabs are following me, going "Auda abu Tayi. Auda abu Tayi," and...

KING: What did Lean say?

ANTHONY QUINN: Lean said, listen, get rid of Anthony Quinn, I want this guy.


KING: Do you want to see a scene from "Lawrence of Arabia"? Here's the brilliant -- and when we come back, we're going to show you a piece of sculpture and a painting, a self-portrait, another side of the brilliant side of Anthony Quinn.

Here he is in "Lawrence of Arabia."


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




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: We're back with Anthony Quinn, who has played Native Americans, mafia dons, Arab sheiks, Greek peasants, tycoons, Hawaiian chieftains. His films have included "The Guns of Navarone," "Barabbas," "Requiem for a Heavyweight," "Lawrence of Arabia." Recently, "Only the Lonely," "Mobsters," "Last Action Hero," "Gotti."

Let's take a call. Whittier, California for Anthony Quinn. Hello.

CALLER: Yes. Good afternoon. Hi, Tony. I'd like to say happy birthday, first of all, to you...

ANTHONY QUINN: Thank you. CALLER: ... and ask you what do you think the direction movies are taking today and the younger actors. How do you feel about movies that are being made today and how they...

KING: Do you go to movies a lot?

ANTHONY QUINN: No, I don't. I don't.

KING: You don't?

ANTHONY QUINN: I have a lot of movies sent to me by the Academy for the Academy Awards. But I see most of the movies, and I've seen some wonderful movies.

Well, I think that they're what the audience wants, and unfortunately, it's a business that caters to the audience. It was the -- directors told me years and years and years ago that an actor's job is to say what you wanted to the audience. And I studied with a great teacher, Frank Lloyd Wright, who said an artist's job is to tell the audience, teach the audience how to live. And I think that that's mainly what I've tried to do in my life.

KING: And you think a lot of these the young actors don't do that?

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, I think that they're following the fad of the moment, and that's copying each other. And I think the worst thing an actor can do is to copy himself. So copy each other is the same thing. But we all copy, I mean, we all steal.

KING: You do?

ANTHONY QUINN: Poor talents borrow, big talents steal.


KING: Why do you keep working? And you do keep getting scripts, don't you?

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, yes, I have some scripts. Well, I think that's to prove something to yourself.

KING: You don't know it by now?

ANTHONY QUINN: No, I don't know it, I don't know. I have two kids that prove to me every day that I'm worthwhile. But it's -- it's a challenge in you, that's all. It's something in you.

I mean, why do you go on working? I've known you for years and you go on working wonderfully. And you keep proving it to yourself, not to anybody else, to yourself.

KING: You're right.

ANTHONY QUINN: You keep proving it to yourself that you can do it. And it's a wonderful challenge, and I get in front of a canvas and I say, "What am I going to do?" And I start painting and it's wonderful to -- to suddenly feel yourself creating and making something come to life.

KING: And you once told me acting is in a sense child-like, and children are great actor, young children.

ANTHONY QUINN: Oh, children are wonderful actor. I have a son now, Ryan, who is a wonderful actor.

KING: We'll meet him later.

ANTHONY QUINN: He's a wonderful actor. My daughter is.

KING: Because they don't have inhibitions.

ANTHONY QUINN: That's right. Yes, that's right.

My daughter was a wonderful actress two years ago, and now she's a wonderful dancer. Great talent.

KING: Can you teach great acting?

ANTHONY QUINN: I don't think you can teach anybody anything. I don't think you can teach people how to paint. I mean, you know, I don't think -- I think you have to be born. It has to be born inside of you.

But it's not that an artist is special. I really don't believe that. I really don't believe there has to be special dispensation from God. I think it's a damnation to the artist, because he has to do it, has to paint, he has to paint, he has to walk farther than anybody. He has to do everything, everything.

And you know, challenging yourself to be an emperor, a pope, whatever -- it's -- it's a terrible responsibility. But it's wonderful. Wonderful if you can do it well. I don't know whether I've done it well. But it's wonderful...

KING: You told me once the saddest thing is when the last day of a movie or the last day of a play, because you've been this person and now you're leaving him.

ANTHONY QUINN: I was terribly lonely after -- after I left Zorba, yes. It was a great loss to me. And...

KING: Because you were Zorba, and now you weren't Zorba.

ANTHONY QUINN: And a great loss to me when I stopped being Gauguin. He was wonderful -- he was probably the most interesting character I ever played for me. For me, he was absolutely wonderful.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with Tony Quinn. Here's a scene from a movie made for television, "Gotti," and here's Tony at his best. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "GOTTI") ANTHONY QUINN: This is a walk in the sun. The old man will never forget it.


ARMAND ASSANTE, ACTOR: Who's this guy own?

ANTHONY QUINN: Oh, he's in Castellano's crew. Him and Sammy Gravano, they whacked a dozen bums.

ASSANTE: Why don't they give me Sammy? I mean, I just don't know nothing about this guy. I mean, you're the elder boss in here. You know, Castellano should defer to you a little. He was one of those guys (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I got no beef. Just tell him to give me Sammy.

ANTHONY QUINN: Paul wants Gallioni (ph) and this piece of work. Leave it at that.

ASSANTE: Is that what you want?

ANTHONY QUINN: Doesn't matter what the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) I want. That's the way it is. Now just -- just let it go, John. Just go with it, huh? Go with the tide.

ASSANTE: Relax. Forget I said it.



KING: We're back with Anthony Quinn, who Friday celebrates his 85th birthday. Joining us with Mr. Quinn is James Coburn. He was on just a couple of weeks ago.

He appeared with Jim in "The High Wind in Jamaica," about the impact of five French stowaways on a Spanish pirate and his buccaneers.

And joining us by phone is Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's in Vancouver, British Columbia doing a film, and Arnold worked with Tony in "Last Action Hero" -- Arnold.


KING: Hello. What was it like to work with the master?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, first of all, Larry, if you don't mind, let me just say what a great pleasure it is for me to call in your program and to be part of this birthday celebration that you are having there...


... because I want to wish Anthony Quinn a very, very happy birthday. You know, this is incredible to be 85 years old and to be in such great shape and to be so mentally alert and to have so much joy for life, and to be such a great -- such a great contribution to the world of entertainment and art and everything else one can think of. So it's really terrific. So congratulations, Anthony, and it's really great to hear your voice and to hear that you're doing so well.

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, thank you, Arnold. And it's wonderful to be in your house, you know.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Thank you, but I have done a movie with Anthony, as you know, "Last Action Hero," and it was really like a dream come true for me, because I've admired, of course, Anthony Quinn for so many years, since I was young in Austria. And he was one of the people, one of the actors that inspired me to become an actor. And so I have to first of all say that I have violated all rules because I am copying Anthony Quinn. I am a copier.


KING: I remember when you were...

SCHWARZENEGGER: I mean, Larry -- Larry, I must be a fool not to copy the best, right? I mean, why not?

KING: I remember when you finished that movie, you told me what a thrill it was to work with Anthony Quinn. I wanted -- before you leave us, what was it like to work with Arnold?

ANTHONY QUINN: I didn't get to work with Arnold that much. My goodness, I mean...

KING: But you did have one -- no, you didn't have a scene with him.

ANTHONY QUINN: No, I didn't have a scene with him and I was dying to, to get at him. I mean, it was wonderful. I mean, he's a formidable actor. He's absolutely been wonderful, and that picture he did with the...

JAMES COBURN, ACTOR: ... the little guy.

ANTHONY QUINN: The little guy.


ANTHONY QUINN: They were both wonderful. I mean...

KING: "The Twins," with Danny DeVito. He was the little guy.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Thank you, thank you.

ANTHONY QUINN: Wonderful, wonderful.

SCHWARZENEGGER: But -- but let me just tell you it's also because next to you is another great, great hero of mine, James Coburn, sitting, and I want to make sure that everyone knows that I worked with him on "Eraser," which also was an outstanding experience watching him work and to see this great talent working.

So this is the kind of people that really are great to have in film. I'm so happy that they're still out there and acting and in films and entertaining everyone around the world.

And of course, both of them are in terrific shape. I think they should write books on fitness. They should talk more about the subject of what they do to be in such great shape at that age, because I think that's really admirable, too. And...

KING: "Fitness With Arthritis" could be the book.

SCHWARZENEGGER: And Larry, I don't know if you know, but I have several paintings of his. So I mean, it's...

KING: Oh, you own -- you own some Quinns?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Oh, yes, Anthony Quinn is an unbelievable artist. I mean, the colors that he has in his paintings and his oils, and then also, the sculptures that he does. Anyone that is not familiar with his art, go to the local bookstore and look at the books for Anthony Quinn's art, or go and ask a local art gallery...

KING: It's a testimonial here?

SCHWARZENEGGER: ... because it's really extraordinary his work, and I have them hanging in my house.

As a matter of fact, when my third child was born, which was Patrick, as a gift to my wife I gave her one of the paintings, which is the mother and child painting that Anthony did, which was an extraordinary painting.

KING: Hey, Arnold, thanks very much for joining us.


KING: Good luck with your film.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Happy birthday, and Larry, I'll be back.


KING: I know you'll be back. Thank you, Arnold Schwarzenegger.


ANTHONY QUINN: Well, I mean, he's wonderful. I mean, it's wonderful to be part of his life.

You know, I was telling you before, when people say I live with your painting on my wall and...

KING: That's the big thrill.

ANTHONY QUINN: That mother and child. KING: Jim, what was it like to work with him?

COBURN: 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. And it was wonderful.

KING: Let me get a break. We'll hold Jim for another segment as well.

Later, we're going to meet his family, the wife and the little babies. They're not babies anymore. But here is a scene from "Viva Zapata!" Watch.


ANTHONY QUINN: I know what's the matter with you.


ANTHONY QUINN: You, my friend, you have heavy blood. You are unhappy because the fighting is over. UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Half victory, always celebrating, nothing really won.

ANTHONY QUINN: I love you. But I don't like you. I never liked you, my darling friend.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: There will be a lot more bloodshed.

ANTHONY QUINN: All right, there will be. But not tonight. Here, enjoy yourself, be human.



KING: Tomorrow night, Dan Rather. Thursday night, Al and Tipper Gore. Our guest is Anthony Quinn. He's going to be 85 on Friday. With us in studio is James Coburn, who appeared with Anthony in "High Wind in Jamaica."

And on the phone is Christian Slater, who was with Anthony Quinn in "Mobsters." Anthony played "Joe the Boss" Masseria and Christian played young Charlie Luciano.

OK, Christian, what was it like to work with the master here?

CHRISTIAN SLATER, ACTOR: It was wonderful. First of all, I want to say him, and I'm so grateful to get the opportunity to say hello and happy birthday, Anthony. You look fantastic.

ANTHONY QUINN: Christian, you won't believe it. I swear, I swear now, I've been writing a script for you for a year.



KING: Never a dull moment with him.

ANTHONY QUINN: I tell you, I swear, you've been on my mind for years, and you're driving me crazy. Now will you please get out of my head.

I love you very much. I love you very much.

SLATER: Love you, too, man. I love you, too, the both of you guys. I mean, I'm so grateful to see James there, too, because we worked together on "Young Guns II."

COBURN: Yes, we did, yes.

SLATER: Very sexy human being, you are.

KING: How do you mean that, Christian?

ANTHONY QUINN: Why don't you say that about me, Christian? SLATER: Well, the both of you.


KING: Christian, what was it like? You were young -- you're young now, but in 1991, you're young. What was it like to work with someone, at that age, like Anthony Quinn?

SLATER: It was truly marvelous. First of all, I was a huge fan, the clip you just showed, "Viva Zapata!," and another film "La Strada," I mean, these are just some of my favorite movies, so Working with him was just such an incredible treat. And he's a man -- both of these gentlemen, they're two men who live with such an incredible amount of passion, and they come to work with so much passion, and so many stories to share, and they're so willing to communicate and they're so open, and that was really a wonderful example for me. There was nothing closed off about these guys. They are really willing to just be a part of the whole project.

KING: Aren't you interested in hearing about this script for you?


KING: Had him on your mind for years.

ANTHONY QUINN: I had a pretty good part in the picture.


SLATER: Absolutely. Absolutely. To work with you again, Anthony, would be a dream come true.

ANTHONY QUINN: Maybe we'll get to work on the script then. Thank you very much.

COBURN: Put a part in there for me, too, Anthony.

KING: Put a part for him.

Christian, thanks so much.

SLATER: Thank you so much.

COBURN: Good to see you, man.

SLATER: All right, God bless. Happy birthday.

KING: Thank you.

Isn't that weird? You didn't know it was going to call, right? And you've been working a script. Why him?

ANTHONY QUINN: Because he looks like the man I'm writing about. What is the man in Microsoft?

KING: Bill Gates?

ANTHONY QUINN: I want him to play Bill Gates.

KING: You got a script about someone...


ANTHONY QUINN: No, it's a wonderful script.

COBURN: How many scripts have you written, Tony?


KING: Have you had any made yet?

ANTHONY QUINN: Yes, yes, but let's not talk about that.


ANTHONY QUINN: This is one of the best stories I've ever written.

KING: How good an actor is he?

ANTHONY QUINN: He's a wonderful actor. He's been on the stage, and I went to see him. He was wonderful.

COBURN: Did you see him in "Sideman"?


COBURN: Oh, he was great. We got the music "Sideman," whoa God.

KING: Jim, I thank you very much for joining us.

COBURN: It's been my pleasure, believe me.

And happy birthday.

ANTHONY QUINN: Thank you for holding me up.


KING: We'll be back with more moments. And don't forget, still to come, the Quinn Kids and Mrs. Quinn.

Don't go away.


ANTHONY QUINN: I don't believe my eyes.

SLATER: It's me.

ANTHONY QUINN: Hey, Charlie! Come on sit down, sit down. I send you messages, send you flowers, and you don't come to see me. SLATER: I had some things I had to straighten out with Maranzano.

ANTHONY QUINN: Yes, I heard, you won't marry him. That's beautiful. Still you won't go to bed with me, and I'm so gorgeous.

SLATER: I know. I know. I've always held a warm spot for you, Joe. Your nephew Joey was a friend of mine.

ANTHONY QUINN: That's too bad, Charlie.

Charlie, you belong in this family.

SLATER: Someday I will join you, Joe.

ANTHONY QUINN: You don't like today?

SLATER: No, no, I don't like it.



KING: In a couple of minutes, you're going to meet Kathy Quinn and the children, Antonia and Ryan.

Let's take another call for the great Anthony Quinn. He'll be 85 Friday.

Eugene, Oregon, hello.

CALLER: Good evening Mr. Quinn. Happy birthday. And I have a question.


CALLER: What are you going to do for the next 85 years?


KING: Do you ever think of retiring?

Good question, sir.

ANTHONY QUINN: No, no, I never -- I can't afford to retire in the first place. But I never think of retiring. And you know, life is -- I've never answered for myself the question that life also -- I mean, what are you here for? And recently, I found out. I have fallen madly in love with a tree just outside of our breakfast place. It's a wonderful oak tree, and I love just staring at.

KING: You're playing a tree now.


ANTHONY QUINN: No, no, I really feel about that tree, I love that tree, and we put some place for the birds to come and the squirrels to play around the tree, and the tree has all the answers in the world for me, I swear, I swear, Larry. Well, I don't know whether I should tell you this, but...

KING: Go ahead.

ANTHONY QUINN: I had once put in my will to be buried in Chihuahua up on top of a mountain, Indian style, but I have now -- I wish I could move mountains, because I want to be buried under that tree, and I'm not afraid of death, I'm not. But I want to be buried under that tree, because it's the most wonderful, symbolic thing about what life is about, and you sit there, and you take it, and the wind cuts off a limb, and you say, and you keep on, and it's all scarred up. It's all scarred up. Time has done frightening things to it, but still coming to bloom now, my God, still loves the spring is coming.

KING: We could be describing Mr. Quinn, could we not?

ANTHONY QUINN: Well, I guess so, yes, but my leaves just came up recently with two little kids, Antonia and Ryan, and a wonderful wife.

KING: We're going to meet them in a minute.

ANTHONY QUINN: That's wonderful. I love to be with them, and you. It's wonderful.

KING: Let's take a break and come back and we'll bring on his young wife, Kathy, and the young kids, Antonia and Ryan. American first -- they were on television in Spain, but this is an American first, and it's seen around the world, so they're watching in Spain, too.

Don't go away.

This week on LARRY KING LIVE, tomorrow night, one of the most distinguished journalists in broadcasting. CBS's Dan Rather will be my guest, taking your calls, and on Thursday, Vice President Al Gore and wife, Tipper, will join us for the hour. It's all this week on LARRY KING LIVE.


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 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. 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?

K. QUINN: 37.

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

K. QUINN: Yes.

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. 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 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 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 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. 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 QUINN: Do you want to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle"?

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



ANTONIA QUINN: No, he can sing it.

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

ANTONIA QUINN: I'm not singing.

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: Thank you all very much. Happy 85th. Thank you.


KING: Can't end it better than that. Thank you so much.

K. QUINN: Good luck with yours.

KING: Thank you. I've got another one coming. Maybe we'll all get together.

ANTHONY QUINN: Maybe we will have too.

KING: Anthony Quinn, Kathy Quinn, Antonia Quinn, and Ryan Quinn, thanks -- 85 years old Friday. We hope you enjoyed this.

Tomorrow night, Dan Rather. Stay tuned for CNN "NEWSSTAND" and more on that tragedy in the Philippines.

Thanks for joining us and good night.



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