Sense of Wonder: Robert Quarry Appreciation Week

quarry.jpgOver at the Classic Horror Film Message Board, it’s “Robert Quarry Appreciation Week.” Quarry is the fine actor who appeared in a handful of entertaining cult films in the early ’70s: COUNT YORGA – VAMPIRE, THE RETURN OF COUNT YORGA, DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN, and MADHOUSE. Quarry seemed poised on the verge of cult stardom when the bottom dropped out of the low-budget horror film market and companies like American International Pictures turned to making blaxploitation pictures. (Quarry was in one of those, too, the zombie-gangster flick, SUGAR HILL.) The post at the Classic Horror Board contains information for fans who want to express their appreciation, including an address where you can purchase autographed photos from the actor.
I”ve been lucky enough to meet Quarry a few times. The first was when I interviewed him for the cover story on Vincent Price in the January 1989 issue of Cinefantastique (Volume 19, Numbers 1 & 2). Over the phone, the actor expressed some reservations about rehashing old news, but ultimately he agreed to meet with me, and he gave a hilarious interview in which no punches were pulled and no insult went un-uttered. Although understandably disappointed that his career did not turn out as it should have, he did not strike me as particularly bitter while dishing dirt; he simply refused to sugar-coat the truth, and he didn’t stand in such reverent awe of people that he regarded them as hallowed icon not to be impugned under any circumstances.
Later, I happened to run into him outside the Vista Theatre in Hollywood (where Sunset and Hollywood Blvd meet), where Luc Besson’s THE BIG BLUE was playing. He recognized me, and we chatted about how the Price article. He was happy with the way it turned out, because it included both his positive and negative comments. I recall that he also like the Besson film, although it was a rather vague and pseudo-mystical piece – the kind of thing that might appeal to a (then) young cineaste like me but not, I thought, to an actor with an appreciation for in-depth characters and insightful drama.
The last time I saw Quarry was in 2004, when the American Cinematheque hosted a double bill of the two YORGA films, with Tim Sullivan (2001 MANAICS) and Frank Darabont (THE MIST) interviewing the actor in between. He told the old stories again, with his usual gusto, and afterwards I finally got him to sign a copy of the CFQ issue with the Price cover story.
Only a few years have passed since then, but according to Mark Redfield’s post on the Classic Horror Board, Quarry now lives in a retirement home. He has made the adjustment, but he could still use some help, and he also appreciates the attention and interest of his old fans. Redfield ends with this appeal:

If you can help, and I know times are tough for many of us, (so forgive me if I sound like a pitchman for donations to PBS!), but you can request an autographed picture from Robert for $22.50 (check or money order made out to “Robert Quarry”–and add fan mail if you wish!) and send it care of Tim Sullivan’s company, New Rebellion. Tim will see to it that all are answered, on a weekly basis. The money that you send will go directly to helping Robert Quarry with ongoing expenses with medication and care at his new place. […]
Write to:
Robert Quarry/New Rebellion
1366 ½ Riviera Avenue
Venice, California 90291
Or you can write to him directly at:
Robert Quarry
c/o Motion Picture & Television Fund
Lodge 405
23388 Mulholland Drive
Woodland Hills, California 91364

You can also get more information on Quarry’s situation at Tim Sullivan’s My Space page:
In honor of Robert Quarry Appreciation Week, we have posted several articles about the actor. Plus, we have added links to older articles in our archive. Enjoy! And don’t forget to send a little love and/or assistance to the man who helped make these movies the cult classics that they are!

4 Replies to “Sense of Wonder: Robert Quarry Appreciation Week”

Leave a Reply