70 (passed away Oct. 10th, 1985)
May. 6th, 1915
Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA
Orson Welles' Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
His father was a well-to-do inventor, his mother a beautiful concert pianist; Orson Welles was gifted in many arts (magic, piano, painting) as a child. When his mother died (he was nine) he traveled the world with his father. When his father died (he was fifteen) he became the ward of Chicago's Dr. Maurice Bernstein.
In 1931 he graduated from the Todd School in Woodstock, Illinois; he turned down college offers for a sketching tour of Ireland. He tried unsuccessfully to enter the London and Broadway stages, traveling some more in Morocco and Spain (where he fought in the bullring). Recommendations by 'Thornton Wilder' and 'Alexander Woollcott' got him into Katherine Cornell's road company, with which he made his New York debut as Tybalt in 1934. The same year he married, directed his first short, and appeared on radio for the first time. He began working with 'John Houseman' and formed the Mercury Theatre with him in 1937.
In 1938 they produced The Mercury Theatre on the Air, famous for its broadcast version of "The War of the Worlds" (intended as a Halloween prank). His first film to be seen by the public was Citizen Kane (1941), a commercial failure losing RKO $150,000, but regarded by many as the best film ever made. Many of his next films were commercial failures and he exiled himself to Europe in 1948. In 1956 he directed Touch of Evil (1958); it failed in the U.S. but won a prize at the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. In 1975, in spite of all his box-office failures, he received the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 1984 the Directors Guild of America awarded him its highest honor, the 'D.W. Griffith' Award. His reputation as a film maker has climbed steadily ever since.
- Ashes are buried inside an old well covered by flowers, within the rural property of retired bullfighter 'Antonio Ordˇ˝ez (I)' (qv), Ronda, Malaga, Spain.
- Most of his movie projects never got finished or released due to financial problems and disputes with studio executives. Some of his unfinished productions are: _The Deep (1970)_ (qv) ('Laurence Harvey (I)' (qv)'s death made a finished movie impossible), _The Merchant of Venice (1969) (TV)_ (qv) and _Don Quijote de Orson Welles (1992)_ (qv).
- Was the narrator for many of the trailers for _Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)_ (qv).
- Lobbied to get the part of Don Vito Corrleone in _The Godfather (1972)_ (qv). 'Francis Ford Coppola' (qv), a fan of his, had to turn him down because he already had 'Marlon Brando' (qv) in mind for the role and felt Welles wouldn't be right for it.
- Was named #16 on the 50 Greatest Screen Legends list of the American Film Institute.
- 'Merv Griffin' (qv) claims in his new DVD collection, "Merv Griffin: Interesting People" that Welles died two hours after giving Merv an interview in which he had said to ask him anything, "for this interview there are no subjects about which I won't speak." In the past, Welles refused to speak about the past.
- Was voted the 2nd Greatest Film Director of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
- Made a Hollywood satire, _The Other Side of the Wind (1972)_ (qv), starring 'John Huston (I)' (qv) and 'Peter Bogdanovich' (qv). Though it was completed, the post-production process was not and the film also ran into legal problems.