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.
- CBS wanted him to host _"The Twilight Zone" (1959)_ (qv) but the producers felt that he requested too much money. He was ultimately ruled out in favor of the show's creator, 'Rod Serling' (qv).
- Told 'Peter Bogdanovich' (qv) that, as a practicing magician, he became adept at the old carny trick of fortune-telling, but he became so good at it that it scared him. He was worried that he'd come to believe he actually DID have the power to tell the future, like the self-deluded fortune tellers known as a "shut eye."
- Father with 'Paola Mori' (qv) of 'Beatrice Welles' (qv), whom Welles made the sole heir of his estate.
- His father was an alcoholic.
- Despite his reputation as an actor and master film-maker, he maintained his memberships in the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians (neither of which are unions, but fraternal organizations), and regularly practiced sleight-of-hand magic in case his career came to an abrupt end. Welles occasionally performed at the annual conventions of each organization, and was considered by fellow magicians to be extremely accomplished.
- 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.
- 'John Ford (I)' (qv), whom Welles admired as the greatest American director and who, in turn, admired Welles as a director and actor, wanted to cast him as Mayor Frank Skeffington in his movie adaption of 'Edwin O'Connor (I)' (qv)'s novel _The Last Hurrah (1958)_ (qv). Welles was unable to accept the role due to scheduling conflicts, and 'Spencer Tracy' (qv) was cast instead.
- Was very good friends with 'Peter Bogdanovich' (qv), in whose house he lived for several years during Bogdanovich's affair with 'Cybill Shepherd' (qv). Welles even gave Bogdanovich written instructions to finish his last film, _The Other Side of the Wind (1972)_ (qv), before his death.