Embarrassment of Riches

updated 09/06/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/06/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

BOTH ONSCREEN AND OFF, ANTHONY Quinn (Viva Zapata! Zorba the Greek) has for decades been known as a virile, hot-blooded fellow. Not even the quadruple bypass surgery he underwent in 1990 could calm those frisky hormones. Last week, Quinn, 78, revealed the birth of his 12th child, Patricia—his fourth to be conceived out of wedlock. Patricia's mother is his 30ish girlfriend and former secretary, Kathy Benvin, whom he has known for nine years. "Kathy said she wanted a child by me," Quinn told New York Post columnist Cindy Adams. "I said, 'I don't know if I can.' Well, I could."

Such Quinn-tessential candor enraged the actor's second wife of 27 years, Iolanda, 58. She had complained publicly about Anthony's earlier liaisons, but when their actor son Lorenzo, 26, called her in Rome, where she was vacationing, and explained what Papa had done this time, she refused even to speak to her husband.

That didn't stop the two from engaging in a war of words, conducted largely through Adams, a longtime family friend, Iolanda: "When I come back, it will be with conditions." Tony: "I am a grown man. And she cannot dictate to me." (When Quinn married Iolanda, a costumer he met while filming Barabbas in Rome in 1961, she herself was pregnant with Lorenzo and had already borne Quinn two other sons, Francesco, now 30, and Daniele, 29.)

Neither side wants a divorce, Adams says, but Iolanda—as one of those "conditions"—is demanding DNA tests to make 100 percent sure that Anthony is Patricia's father. If the microscope picks up on a lusty little gene that's making like Zorba, well, that might be proof.

From Our Partners