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Francesco Quinn mourned by family, friends

August 8, 2011 |  2:52 pm

Friends and family on Monday were mourning actor Francesco Quinn, 48, who died after suffering a suspected heart attack near his Malibu home.

One of 13 children of Academy Award-winner Anthony Quinn, Francesco and his son Max, 9, were running home after buying a kite to take to the beach Friday when he collapsed in the street, a family member said.

Paramedics took Quinn to Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, where he was declared dead.

Julie McCann Quinn, his  former wife, said Quinn was "the most entertaining person in the world, who told the best stories. He made everyone laugh."

In addition to his film and TV work, including the film "Platoon" and the TV series "24" and "The Shield," Quinn also was a cycling, scooter and motorcycling enthusiast with an off-screen passion for all things two-wheeled, friends said.

"The only time I drive a car is if I have to," Quinn told Motorcycle USA magazine in 2009.

Quinn began riding dirt bikes in California at age 5 and was motorcycling in the streets of Italy, where he spent most of childhood, by age 14, he told the magazine. His motorcycle collection topped 60, and included a classic Ducati Monster with a full Ferrari engine.

Quinn's last role was voicing the character Dino, a red Ferrari, in the summer release "Transformers: Dark of the Moon."

McCann Quinn said the actor also bicycled 300 miles a week; his email handle was fqonbike, she said. Last month, he hosted the Celebrita Gran Fondo, a Beverly Hills-to-Malibu bicycle ride sponsored by, among others, Cynergy Cycles of Santa Monica.

Fireball Tim Lawrence, who designs vehicles for films, said he and Quinn were developing a website to display original content focused on his love of "two-wheeled vehicular contraptions."

On Monday, tributes in English and Italian were pouring onto the Facebook page for the foundation that Quinn set up to provide opportunities in the arts for troubled youths, the Francesco Quinn Legacy. "Ride that Vespa in heaven like [nobody's] business," read one message.


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-- Gale Holland

Photo: Francesco Quinn in 2008. Credit: Annie Wells / Los Angeles Times