Anthony directing The Buccaneer from atop ladder, with Cecil B. DeMille watching from directly below, left, 1958

By the end of World War II, though, Quinn had grown frustrated with Hollywood’s inability to see beyond his ethnic outer layer. After a decade in films, few professional paths lay open that he had not already trod into dust. He could have gone on attacking Erroll Flynn, frightening Bob Hope, and challenging Tyrone Power, but he chose a far more adventuresome course. He headed east.

Many of today’s most gifted movie stars occasionally reaffirm their artistry by taking highly publicized turns on the Broadway stage. Quinn beat them to it by fifty years. In 1947, feeling trapped in the slot assigned him by studio chiefs, he abandoned Hollywood for four years of intense stage work and acting study. At a time when Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift were moving west, Quinn moved his family east and embarked on an educational regimen with the Actors’ Studio.