cover image One Man Tango

One Man Tango

Anthony Quinn. HarperCollins Publishers, $25 (388pp) ISBN 978-0-06-018354-7

Quinn follows up his first book, The Original Sin, with this deeper, more contemplative memoir recalling his varied careers before and beyond acting. They include stints as one of Aimee Semple McPherson's street preachers working the East Los Angeles barrios, as a prelim fighter in local rings and as an acclaimed painter. Writing with freelancer Paisner, Quinn recalls his self-doubts concerning marriage to Cecil B. DeMille's daughter when he was a lowly Paramount contract player and his early struggles to overcome typecasting as an actor who could play only gangsters and Mexican bandits. With verve and wit he relates how he prepared his most famous roles: Gauguin in Lust for Life, Zampano in La Strada, Zorba in Zorba the Greek and others, and how he managed to put his own personal stamp on the role of Stanley Kowalski in the road company of A Streetcar Named Desire despite Brando's indelible characterization. The 80-year-old Quinn's life reads like a picaresque novel, its rogue hero of cinematic dimension. Photos. (Aug.)