Orson Welles

18.08.2011 in10:16 in Miscellaneous -->


Orson Welles was born on May 6,1915 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA. His parents were well to do and from the age of six he was considered to be a genius.

Welles lost his parents at an early age, his mother died when he was eight and his father died when he was 12. Thornton Wilder and Alexander Woollcott helped him join the theatre company of Katherine Cornell, which helped his way to form The Mercury Theatre on the Air with John Houseman. The Mercury Theater is best know for its celebrated “War of the Worlds” broadcast, which scared half the nation because of its realistic news cast approach. The the fame he received from War of the Worlds, at the age of 25, he was given a film contract at RKO Studio aPictures that included unprecedented artistic freedom His first film was “Citizen Kane” which wsa reputed to be about the live of William Randolph Hearst. Hearst did everything in his power to destroy the film, but he was unsuccessful. Welles brought many of his staff from the Mercury Theater, such as Agnes Moorehead and Joseph Cotton. He used the best in Hollywood, from writer, Joseph Mankiewicz to the great cinematographer, Gregg Toland. Citizen Kane the was awarded nine Academy Award nominations and won for best screenplay and is considered to be the best film ever made.

Welles next film was “The Magnificent Ambersons,” but the RKO studio decided to shoot new footage and re-edit it without Welles’ participation. A dispute erupted and Welles’ and seemed to set the pattern troubles in the future with directing. During this time until another film came around, Welles also appeared in some films as an actor such as, “Journey Into Fear” (1942), “Jane Eyre” (1944), and “Tomorrow Is Forever” (1946).

His next directing venture was in 1946, when he made “The Stranger,” with himself, Loretta Young and Edward G. Robinson. This film found Welles as a curious former Nazi, with an interest in clocks. He married Rita Hayworth and then directed “The Lady From Shanghai” (1948) at Columbia Pictures.

After making “Macbeth” at Republic, Welles took off for Europe, where he appeared in “The Third Man” (1949), considered one of his best acting roles. Other films directed by Welles can be seen in the Filmography section.

He focused from the 1950s on, he focused on his acting career and continued to work in the theater, and wrote some unsuccessful TV pilots. He also put his unique and powerful voice to work as a narrator for films and television shows.

Later in life, Welles did many other things like TV commercials. He died on October 10, 1985 of a heart attack.



Rita Hayworth (7 September 1943 – 1 December 1948)
(Divorced) 1 daughter Rebecca Welles
Paola Mori (8 May 1955 -?) 1 child
Virginia Nicholson (one thousand nine hundred and thirty-four – 1,939) (divorced) 1 child


Dated Eartha Kitt. He called her “the most exciting woman in the world.”
Once ate 18 hotdogs in one sitting at Pink’s (a Los Angeles hot dog institution).
On old time radio, Orson Welles provided the voice for Lamont Cranston, aka THE SHADOW.
H.G. Wells was driving through San Antonio, Texas and stopped to ask the way. The person he happened to ask was none other than Orson Welles who had recently broadcast “The War of the Worlds” on the radio. They got on well and spent the day together.
Daughter born. [27 March 1938]
The network wanted him to play Mr. Roarke on “Fantasy Island”, but Aaron Spelling insisted on Ricardo Montalban.
Died the same day as Yul Brynner.
Ashes are buried inside an old well covered by flowers, within the rural property of retired bullfighter Antonio Ordonez, Ronda, Malaga, Spain.
One of only five actors to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his first screen appearance.
Father, with Rita Hayworth, of Rebecca (b. 1944).
Father, with Paola Mori, of Beatrice (b. 1955).
Father, with Virginia Nicholson, of Christopher (b. 1937).
On 30 October 1938, he directed the Mercury Theatre On the Air in a dramatization of “War of the Worlds”, based on HG Welles’ novel. Setting the events in then-contemporary locations (The “landing spot” for the Martian invasion, Grover’s Mill, New Jersey, was chosen at random with a New Jersey road map) and dramatizing it in the style of a musical program interrupted by news bulletins , complete with eye-witness accounts, it caused a nationwide panic, with many listeners fully convinced that the Earth was being invaded by Mars. The next day, Welles publicly apologized. While many lawsuits were filed against both Welles and the CBS radio network, all were dismissed. The incident is mentioned in textbook accounts of mass hysteria and the delusions of crowds.
Despite his reputation as an actor and master film-maker, he maintained his membership in the Magicians’ Union, and regularly practiced sleight-of-hand magic in case his career came to an abrupt end.
A bootleg tape of a short-tempered (and foul-mouthed) Orson Welles arguing with a recording engineer during a voice-over session has been widely distributed. It was used as the basis for an episode of the cartoon show “Pinky and the Brain” (1995), with The Brain reading cleaned-up verions of Orson’s rantings (the episode’s title, “Yes, Always”, is taken from one of Orson’s complaints). Ironically, the actor who plays The Brain, Maurice LaMarche, dubbed the voice of the actor who portrays Orson Welles in Ed Wood (1994).
He was born on the same day that Babe Ruth hit his very first home run.
Declined the chance to be the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars (1977).
He tried to make a film version of the book Don Quixote. He started working on it in 1955 and continued to film through the 1970s with Francisco Reiguera and Akim Tamiroff starring. An incomplete version was released in Spain in 1992.
Made a Hollywood satire in the 1970s called The Other Side of the Wind starring John Huston and Peter Bogdanovich. Though it was completed, the post-production process was not and the film also ran into legal problems.
Orson Welles was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1988.
Frank Sinatra was the godfather of one of his daughters.
Host / narrator of the BBC / Mutual Radio’s “The Black Museum” (1952).
Portrayed the title character on the syndicated radio show “The Lives of Harry Lime” (also known as “The Third Man”) (1951-1952). It was based on his character from the film “The Third Man.”
Has the distinction of appearing in both the American Film Institute and British Film Institute’s # 1 movie. For AFI it was Citizen Kane. For BFI it was The Third Man.

Personal quotes

“Even if the good old days never existed, the fact that we can conceive such a world is, in fact, an affirmation of the human spirit.”
“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.”
“I’m not very fond of movies. I don’t go to them much.”
“I started at the top and worked down.”
“I’m not bitter about Hollywood’s treatment of me, but over its treatment of Griffith, Von Sternberg, Von Stroheim, Buster Keaton and a hundred others.”
“Movie directing is the perfect refuge for the mediocre.”
(On Hollywood in the 1980s) “We live in a snake pit here … I hate it but I just don’t allow myself to face the fact that I hold it in contempt because it keeps on turning out to be the only place to go. ”
“I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can’t stop eating peanuts.”
“I want to give the audience a hint of a scene. No more than that. Give them too much and they won’t contribute anything themselves. Give them just a suggestion and you get them working with you. That’s what gives the theater meaning : when it becomes a social act. ”
“If there hadn’t been women we’d still be squatting in a cave eating raw meat, because we made civilization in order to impress our girl friends. And they tolerated it and let us go ahead and play with our toys.”
“I hate it when people pray on the screen. It’s not because I hate praying, but whenever I see an actor fold his hands and look up in the spotlight, I’m lost. There’s only one other thing in the movies I hate as much, and that’s sex. You just can’t get in bed or pray to God and convince me on the screen. ”
“Keep Ted Turner and his damn crayons away from ‘Citizen Kane’!”
(At RKO Studios working on Heart of Darkness, a film he later abandoned), “This is the biggest electric train set a boy ever had!”
“For thirty years people have been asking me how I reconcile X with Y! The truthful answer is that I don’t. Everything about me is a contradiction and so is everything about everybody else. We are made out of oppositions; we live between two poles. There is a philistine and an aesthete in all of us, and a murderer and a saint. You don’t reconcile the poles. You just recognize them. ”
“My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people.”