Francesco Quinn Biography
Francesco Quinn was born into Hollywood as the son of the legendary Anthony Quinn. It has been a blessing and a curse, perhaps, to have such a famous father, but Francesco Quinn has maintained his own image on the screen in both television and movies.
Born in Rome, Italy, to Anthony Quinn and Jolanda Addolori (whose career was also in the movie business), the path that Francesco took into the film industry would forever be shadowed by his parents’ success. His father had acted alongside the greatest actors of the time, and had himself won two Oscars. He had been in over two hundred films, including such classics as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Lust for Life (1956), and Attila (1954). Francesco acted alongside his father a number of times in his career, including a film for television based on the best-selling novel “The Old Man and the Sea”, when he played a younger version of Anthony’s character.
Francesco’s first appearance on the screen was as Marcus Vinicius in the dramatic series “Quo Vadis?” (1985) which starred renowned European actor Klaus Maria Brandauer and character actor Max von Sydow. This was Francesco’s first appearance on the screen, but the second appearance was easily his most famous and most recognized.
In 1986, a Vietnam war film called Platoon (1986) directed by Oliver Stone starring Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, and Charlie Sheen, became a smash hit and a winner of Best Picture at the Oscars. It launched the budding careers of the director and three stars, and paved a road for other soon-to-be famous faces Johnny Depp, Forest Whitaker, and Keith David. Francesco had a large role as Rhah, a raspy-voiced figure often in the shadows who takes heroin from dead Vietnamese and attempts to help the new recruits in their first big battle. His acting was brilliant, and his lines were memorable, yet he was passed over at the Academy Awards and any other awards.
As much of a massive success Platoon (1986) was, an incident while filming gave Francesco a lot of trouble later on. In the middle of filming in the Philippines, Francesco got into a furious argument with Willem Dafoe, which led to fists being thrown. It gave Francesco an undeserved reputation of being a troublemaker in Hollywood, something he had to live down for a while afterwards.
After Platoon (1986), Francesco acted in the TV series “Miami Vice”, the poorly received Priceless Beauty (1988) alongside Diane Lane, and the historical Stradivari (1988) alongside his famous father. He also took a lead role in the war drama Casablanca Express (1989) which also starred Donald Pleasence, and a number of other films in that period. None matched the success of Platoon (1986), though Francesco frequently found work.
As the 90s began, Quinn reunited with his father twice, as well as taking the lead in the crime drama Murder Blues (1991) alongside Brad Dourif, the television series “Red Shoe Diaries” and “Young Indiana Jones”, the action thriller Deadly Rivals (1993), and the Chuck Norris film Top Dog (1995). Certainly a step down for Francesco, “Top Dog” was a flop and was negatively reviewed. However, Francesco moved onwards: he acted in the docudrama Cannes Man (1996) which featured Johnny Depp, Jon Cryer, Benicio Del Toro, and Dennis Hopper in a star-studded cast. Francesco also acted in the television film Rough Riders (1997) (TV) alonside Sam Elliot, Tom Berenger, and R. Lee Ermey.
Quinn’s most famous work outside of Platoon (1986) was in television, in the series “The Young and Restless”. This began a number of appearances in well-known series, and he acted in “The Fugitive”, “Crossing Jordan”, and acted in the best-received episodes of the drama series “JAG”. Francesco then played a terrorist in his most well-known appearance on television: the thriller series “24″ (2001) starring Kiefer Sutherland. Francesco appeared in six episodes as Syed Ali before moving on.
He returned to film, and among others, he acted in the action drama Cut Off (2006) starring Malcolm McDowell, the poorly received Michael Madsen film Afghan Knights (2007), the television film “The Pledge” starring Luke Perry, and the Quentin Tarantino produced Hell Ride (2008) starring Michael Madsen, Dennis Hopper, Keith Carradine, and Larry Bishop. The film suited Francesco, who is an avid lover of cycling and motorbikes, though it was not a financial success.
Francesco has expanded since then to providing many voices in various video games, and has acted in a series of other small films. Amongst the upcoming films on his list is the politically themed film Corruption.Gov (2010) with Michael Madsen and Joe Estevez, the Italian drama film Roma nuda (2011), and the feel-good redemption film Buttermilk Sky (2012) which will once again have Francesco acting alongside Michael Madsen.
Francesco has certainly been burdened with being the son of such an acclaimed character actor as Anthony Quinn, but he has been able to expand into various entertainment fields, yet still focus on his own personal enjoyments such as motorbiking and athletics. Certainly a long way from the rasping, bearded character who famously gave Chris a final salute at the end of Platoon (1986).
Francesco Quinn pursued sports such as skiing, snowboarding, windsurfing, free diving, road cycling, mountain biking, and actively raced motocross and street bikes. Quinn also was an avid motorcycler, and was a spokesperson for The Motorcycle Industry Council and Honda. A world traveler, he was fluent in English, French, Spanish and Italian.
Quinn was a contestant on Ty Murray’s Celebrity Bull Riding Challenge on CMT, until he was sidelined with a broken rib after being stomped on by a Level 2 bull.
Francesco Quinn died of an apparent heart attack near his Malibu home on Friday night(5 Aug 2011).