Hispanic Heritage of Anthony Quinn as "The Pope of Broadway"

Eloy Torrez' Public Art Portrait Mural Tribute to the Film Legacy of Anthony Quinn

By Public Art in Public Places

Public Art in Public Places

Anthony Quinn or "The Pope of Broadway" (1984) by Eloy TorrezPublic Art in Public Places

Tribute to a Hispanic Cultural Icon

After muralist Eloy Torrez completed his 75 foot long "Legends of Hollywood" mural in 1983, he received a commission from the owner of a historic building for a mural of "a Latino actor that would represent that [same] era of Hollywood."

Anthony Quinn (1987) by Kevin WinterLIFE Photo Collection

Regretting having not included Anthony Quinn in his "Legends" mural, Torrez paid a special tribute to the well-known Hispanic actor, artist, and writer with his mammoth 70-foot high portrait mural: "To me, Anthony Quinn represents Los Angeles and its diversity" (Los Angeles Times 1/24/2017).

Anthony Quinn or "The Pope of Broadway" (1984) by Eloy TorrezPublic Art in Public Places

Balancing the requirement of including historic Victor Clothing Co. signage, Torrez designed the mural portrait as a larger-than-life tribute evoking one of Quinn's most beloved screen moments - his "Zorba the Greek" dance. With assistance from City Councilman Jose Huizar, the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles, muralist Art Mortimer and other artists, the mural's three-year restoration effort was completed in January 2017.

Anthony Quinn's Groman's Chinese Theatre Foot Print (2007-06-29) by Anthony QuinnPublic Art in Public Places

Los Angeles Native and Hispanic Legend

Depardieu, Gerard (1995)LIFE Photo Collection

Anthony Quinn's film and stage career spanned more than six decades. Born Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca in 1915 in Chihuahua, Mexico, he spent his childhood in the Boyle Heights and Echo Park neighborhoods of Los Angeles, California. Here French actor Gerard Depardieu joins Quinn in a Hollywood tradition.

By Kevin WinterLIFE Photo Collection

Quinn was the first Mexican-American to be awarded an Academy Award (Viva Zapata!, 1952), and received a second Academy Award as painter Paul Gauguin (Lust For Life, 1956). Additional tributes and honors include a statue of Quinn in his "Zorba the Greek" role in Chihuahua, Mexico, and a Los Angeles County Public Library named in his honor (Anthony Quinn Library, Los Angeles, California, United States of America). (Source: Wikipedia: Anthony Quinn)

"The Pope of Broadway" is Dancing

Anthony Quinn or "The Pope of Broadway" (1984) by Eloy TorrezPublic Art in Public Places

Eloy Torrez' moniker for Quinn as "The Pope of Broadway" represented the actor's deep cultural roots in Los Angeles. In striving to interpret the work, however, some critics incorrectly attribute to it Christian imagery, claiming that Quinn was intentionally portrayed as a Christ-like figure flanked by religious crosses.

At the mural's 2017 restoration and re-dedication, Torrez refuted such claims, stating that he "painted the actor dancing much like the way he did in his 1964 film "Zorba the Greek." Torrez further explained that the rectilinear windows shown under Quinn's arms and the floor under his feet were simply mirroring the features of the historic Bradbury Building directly across the street (Los Angeles Times, Jan. 24, 2017).

Anthony Quinn and Alan Bates in "Zorba the Greek" (Turner Classic Movies) (1964) by Michael CacoyannisPublic Art in Public Places

Anthony Quinn's famous "Zorba the Greek" dance scene has since been recreated by scores of musicians and dancers across the world.
(Scene from "Zorba the Greek" (1964), Michael Cacoyannis, Director/Producer)

Anthony Quinn or "The Pope of Broadway" (1984) by Eloy TorrezPublic Art in Public Places

Anthony Quinn's "Zorba" is Global

Quinn's famous "Zorba the Greek" role still resonates globally, most recently with "Flash Mob" events of mass collective "Zorba" dancing in dozens of city centers (Birmingham 2012, Spijkenisse 2012, Manchester 2015, Annapolis 2015, Ottawa 2017, and of course Athens 2013, to name but a few). In downtown Los Angles, Eloy Torrez' "The Pope of Broadway" mural continues more vividly than ever to evoke the beauty of Quinn's artistic soul.

A spontaneous Zorba dance "flash mob" occurs in the at a Greek community festival in Ottowa, Canada (2011).

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