Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Anthony Quinn Signed for Spanish Soap

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Anthony Quinn Signed for Spanish Soap

Article excerpt

LAURENCE OLIVIER didn't do "Dallas," Henry Fonda didn't visit "Dynasty" and Katharine Hepburn hasn't debuted on "Melrose Place."

But at age 78, two-time Oscar winner Anthony Quinn is wading into the world of "telenovelas," Spanish-language soap operas.

"I've never worked in Spanish," says the Mexican-born actor - no, he's not Greek. "It will be a great challenge for the director and me."

Quinn speaks Spanish daily and taught it to his eight children. "I thought I'd better have somebody to speak Spanish with," he said.

Playing Rafael Trujillo, the Dominican Republic dictator, was another draw for Quinn to the 150-hour "Rubirosa," the story of Porfirio Rubirosa. The Dominican farmboy became a diplomat, globe-trotting playboy and son-in-law of Trujillo.

"I want to investigate why Latin America has been guided by dictators and why it's so difficult to have a democracy there," said Quinn, who appears in 100 of the one-hour installments. Trujillo led the Dominican Republic for three decades before his assassination in 1961.

When "Rubirosa" begins taping in Miami this summer, there should be some fascinating friction as Quinn - a self-proclaimed revolutionary in real life - tackles Trujillo. Will his political bent affect the way he approaches the role? (He once met Trujillo and "wasn't terribly impressed.")

"I'm not going to score (political) points," he said emphatically. "I think I will play this man in an interesting manner. I will show his human side and his political side." Trujillo's daughter was the first of Rubirosa's five wives. Even after the marriage ended in divorce, the two men remained friends, a situation Quinn called "very un-Latin."

Rubirosa's succeeding wives included French actress Danielle Darrieux, Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton and tobacco heiress Doris Duke. He also dated Zsa Zsa Gabor, whom Quinn calls "one of my best friends." Rubirosa died in 1965 at the age of 56 after he smashed his Ferrari into a tree in Paris.

Quinn's foray into "telenovelas" should generate interest in a genre often ridiculed for terrible production values, wretched writing and over-the-top acting.

Other well-known actors have turned to the form, including Erik Estrada and Maria Conchita Alonso, but Quinn's entry is special. …

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