70 (passed away Oct. 10th, 1985)
May. 6th, 1915
Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA
6' 1 1/2"
Guest TV Roles
Himself - Host
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 (I) 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.
- He was made a Fellow of the British Film Institute in recognition of his outstanding contribution to film culture.
- 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)_ (qv), 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' (qv), dubbed the voice of the actor who portrays Orson Welles in _Ed Wood (1994)_ (qv).
- His performance as Charles Foster Kane in _Citizen Kane (1941)_ (qv) is ranked #12 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
- 'American Broadcasting Company (ABC) [us]' wanted him to play Mr. Roarke on _"Fantasy Island" (1978)_ (qv), but 'Aaron Spelling' (qv) insisted on 'Ricardo Montalban' (qv).
- Profiled in in J.A. Aberdeen's "Hollywood Renegades: The Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers". Palos Verdes Estates, CA: Cobblestone Entertainment
- He was the studio's first choice to play the voiceover role of "OMM" in _THX 1138 (1971)_ (qv). However, director 'George Lucas (I)' (qv) insisted on casting the relatively unknown stage actor 'James Wheaton' (qv) instead.
- 'Marlene Dietrich' (qv) said about him: "You should cross yourself when you say his name.".
- He was awarded 2 Stars on the HOllywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 1600 Vine Street and for Radio at 6652 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.