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George Orson Welles (May 6, 1915Template:Ndash October 10, 1985), best known as Orson Welles, was an American film director, actor, theatre director, screenwriter, and producer, who worked extensively in film, theatre, television and radio. Noted for his innovative dramatic productions as well as his distinctive voice and personality, Welles is widely acknowledged as one of the most accomplished dramatic artists of the twentieth century, especially for his significant and influential early work—despite his notoriously contentious relationship with Hollywood. His distinctive directorial style featured layered, nonlinear narrative forms, innovative uses of lighting such as chiaroscuro, unique camera angles, sound techniques borrowed from radio, deep focus shots, and long takes. Welles's long career in film is noted for his struggle for artistic control in the face of pressure from studios. Many of his films were heavily edited and others left unreleased. He has been praised as a major creative force and as "the ultimate auteur."[1]

After directing a number of high-profile theatrical productions in his early twenties, including an innovative adaptation of Macbeth and The Cradle Will Rock, Welles found national and international fame as the director and narrator of a 1938 radio adaptation of H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds performed for the radio drama anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air. It was reported to have caused widespread panic when listeners thought that an invasion by extraterrestrial beings was occurring. Although these reports of panic were mostly false and overstated,[2] they rocketed Welles to instant notoriety.

Citizen Kane (1941), his first film with RKO, in which he starred in the role of Charles Foster Kane, is often considered the greatest film ever made. Several of his other films, including The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), The Lady from Shanghai (1947), Touch of Evil (1958), Chimes at Midnight (1965), and F for Fake (1974), are also widely considered to be masterpieces.[3][4][5]

In 2002, he was voted the greatest film director of all time in two separate British Film Institute polls among directors and critics,[6][7] and a wide survey of critical consensus, best-of lists, and historical retrospectives calls him the most acclaimed director of all time.[8] Well known for his baritone voice,[9] Welles was also an extremely well regarded actor and was voted number 16 in AFI's 100 Years... 100 Stars list of the greatest American film actors of all time. He was also a celebrated Shakespearean stage actor and an accomplished magician, starring in troop variety shows in the war years.

Early life[]

Welles was born May 6, 1915, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, son of Richard Hodgdon Head Welles (1873, Missouri – December 28, 1930, Chicago, Illinois) and Beatrice Ives (1882 or 1883, Springfield, Illinois – May 10, 1924, Chicago, Illinois).[10] His family was raised Roman Catholic. Despite his parents' affluence, Welles encountered many hardships in childhood. In 1919, his parents separated and moved to Chicago. His father, who had made a fortune as the inventor of a popular bicycle lamp,[11] became an alcoholic and stopped working. Welles's mother, a concert pianist, played during lectures by Dudley Crafts Watson at the Chicago Art Institute to support her son and herself (the oldest Welles boy, "Dickie", had been institutionalized at an early age because he had learning difficulties). Beatrice died of jaundice in 1924 in a Chicago hospital a few days after Welles's ninth birthday.[12] After his mother's death, Welles ceased pursuing his interest in music. He was taken in by Dudley Crafts Watson and lived with the family at Watson's family home, "Trillium Dell", on Marshman Avenue in Highland Park, Illinois. At the age of ten, Orson with Watson's third daughter, Marjorie (of the same age), ran away from home. They were found a week later, singing and dancing for money on a street corner in Milwaukee. His father died when Orson was 15 during the summer after Orson's graduation from Todd School for Boys, an independent school in Woodstock, Illinois. Maurice Bernstein, a physician from Chicago, became his guardian.

At Todd School, Welles came under the influence of Roger Hill, a teacher who later became Todd's headmaster. Hill provided Welles with an ad hoc educational environment that proved invaluable to his creative experience, allowing Welles to concentrate on subjects that interested him. Welles performed and staged his first theatrical experiments and productions there. Following graduation from Todd, Welles was awarded a scholarship to Harvard University. Rather than enrolling, he chose to travel. Later, he briefly studied for a time at the Art Institute of Chicago. [13] He returned a number of times to Woodstock to direct his alma mater's student productions.

Early career (1931–1934)[]

After his father's death, Welles traveled to Europe with the aid of a small inheritance. Welles later reported that while on a walking and painting trip through Ireland, he strode into the Gate Theatre in Dublin and claimed he was a Broadway star. The manager of Gate, Hilton Edwards, later said he didn't believe him but was impressed by his brashness and some impassioned quality in his audition.Template:Citation needed Welles made his stage debut at the Gate in 1931, appearing in Jew Suss as the Duke. He acted to great acclaim, which reached the United States. He performed smaller supporting roles as well. On returning to the United States he found his fame ephemeral and turned to a writing project at Todd School that would become the immensely successful Everybody's Shakespeare and subsequently, The Mercury Shakespeare. Welles traveled to North Africa while working on thousands of illustrations for the Everybody's Shakespeare series of educational books, a series that remained in print for decades.

An introduction by Thornton Wilder led Welles to the New York stage. In 1933, he toured in three off-Broadway productions with Katharine Cornell's company, including two roles in Romeo and Juliet.[14] Restless and impatient when the planned Broadway opening of Romeo and Juliet was canceled, Welles staged a drama festival of his own with the Todd School, inviting Micheál Mac Liammóir and Hilton Edwards from Dublin's Gate Theatre to appear, along with New York stage luminaries. It was a roaring success. The subsequent revival of Cornell's Romeo and Juliet brought Welles to the notice of John Houseman, who was casting for an unusual lead actor for the lead role in the Federal Theatre Project.

By 1935 Welles was supplementing his earnings in the theater as a radio actor in Manhattan, working with many of the actors who would later form the core of his Mercury Theatre. He married Chicago actress Virginia Nicholson in 1934 and that year he shot an eight-minute silent short film, The Hearts of Age with her. The couple had one daughter, Christopher. She made her only film appearance in 1948, taking the role of Macduff's son in Welles's film Macbeth and later became known as Chris Welles Feder, an author of educational materials for children.

Theatre and radio (1936–1940)[]

Federal Theatre Project[]


In 1936, the Federal Theatre Project (part of Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration) put unemployed theater performers and employees to work. Welles was hired by John Houseman and assigned to direct a play for the Federal Theatre Project's Negro Theater Unit. He offered them Macbeth,[15] in a production that became known as the Voodoo Macbeth, because Welles set it in the Haitian court of King Henri Christophe, with voodoo witch doctors for the three Weird Sisters. Jack Carter played Macbeth. The incidental music was composed by Virgil Thomson. The play was received rapturously and later toured the nation. When the lead actor, Maurice Ellis, fell ill on tour, Welles quickly boarded an airplane to fly to the location and stepped into the part playing the role in blackface.[16] At the age of twenty, Welles was hailed as a prodigy. A few minutes of the Welles production of Macbeth was recorded on film in a 1937 documentary called We Work Again.[17]

Collaboration with Aaron Copland[]

The young actor/director was chosen by the American composer Aaron Copland in 1937 to direct what is one of Copland's least known works, the opera The Second Hurricane composed for high school students of The Henry Street Settlement Music School in New York. Among the few adult performers in the production was actor Joseph Cotten, Welles's longtime friend and collaborator, who was paid $10 for his performance.[18]

The Cradle Will Rock[]

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Original poster for Project #891's production of The Cradle Will Rock

After the success of Macbeth, Welles mounted the absurd farce Horse Eats Hat, an adaptation by Welles and Edwin Denby of Eugène Labiche's play, Un Chapeau de Paille d'Italie.[19] He consolidated his "White Hope" reputation wit Dr. Faustus which used light as a prime unifying scenic element in a nearly blacked-out stage.

In 1937, he rehearsed Marc Blitzstein's highly political operetta, The Cradle Will Rock. Because of severe federal cutbacks in the Works Progress projects, the show's premiere at the Maxine Elliott Theatre was canceled. The theater was locked and guarded to prevent any of the government-purchased materials being used for a commercial production of the work. In a last-minute move, Welles announced to waiting ticket-holders that the show was being transferred to the Venice, about twenty blocks away. Some cast, as well as some crew and audience, walked the distance on foot. The union musicians refused to perform in a commercial theater for lower non-union government wages. The actors' union stated that the production belonged to the Federal Theater Project and could not be performed outside that context without permission. Lacking the participation of the union members, The Cradle Will Rock began with Blitzstein introducing the show and playing the piano accompaniment on stage with some cast members performing their parts from the audience. This impromptu performance was well received by its audience. It afterward played at the Venice for two weeks in the same informal way.

Mercury Theatre[]

Resigning from the Federal Theatre, Welles and Houseman formed the Mercury Theatre, of which Welles became executive producer and whose repertory company eventually included actors such as Agnes Moorehead, Joseph Cotten, Dolores del Río, Ray Collins, George Coulouris, Frank Readick, Everett Sloane, Eustace Wyatt and Erskine Sanford, all of whom would continue to work for Welles for years. The first Mercury Theatre production was a melodramatic and heavily edited version of William Shakespeare's tragedy Julius Caesar, set in a contemporary frame of fascist Italy. Cinna the Poet dies at the hands not of a mob but of a secret police force. According to Norman Lloyd, who played Cinna the Poet, "it stopped the show." The applause lasted more than ten minutes and the production was widely acclaimed.

In the second year of the Mercury Theater, Welles shifted his interests to radio as an actor, director and producer. He played Hamlet for CBS on The Columbia Workshop, while adapting and directing the play. In July 1937, the Mutual Network gave him a seven-week series to adapt Les Misérables, which he did with great success. That September, Mutual chose Welles to play Lamont Cranston, aka The Shadow, anonymously and in the summer of 1938 CBS gave him (and the Mercury Theatre) a weekly hour-long show to broadcast radio plays based on classic literary works. The show was titled The Mercury Theatre on the Air, with original music by Bernard Herrmann, who would continue working with Welles on radio and in films for years.

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An electrical transcription disk of the Orson Welles War of the Worlds broadcast

The War of the Worlds broadcast[]

Their October 30, 1938 radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells brought Welles instant fame. The combination of the news bulletin form of the performance with the between-breaks dial spinning habits of listeners from the rival and far more popular Edgar Bergen/Charlie McCarthy program, was later reported in the media to have created widespread confusion among listeners who failed to hear the introduction, although the extent of this confusion has recently come into question.[2][20][21] Panic was reported to have spread (after citation from rumors) among many listeners who believed the news reports of a Martian invasion. The myth of the result created by the combination was reported as fact around the world and disparagingly mentioned by Adolf Hitler in a public speech a few months later.[22] The 1970s "docu-drama" The Night That Panicked America was based on events centering around the production of, and events that resulted from, the program.

Welles's growing fame soon drew Hollywood offers, lures which the independent-minded Welles resisted at first. The Mercury Theatre on the Air, which had been a "sustaining show" (without sponsorship) was picked up by Campbell Soup and renamed The Campbell Playhouse.[23]

On October 28, 1940, Welles met H.G. Wells in San Antonio, Texas; a local radio station KTSA recorded the conversation, which was likely the only meeting between the two.

Hollywood (1939–1948)[]

RKO Radio Pictures president George Schaefer eventually offered Welles what generally is considered the greatest contract ever offered to an untried director: complete artistic control. RKO signed Welles in a two-picture deal; including script, cast, crew, and most importantly, final cut, although Welles had a budget limit for his projects. With this contract in hand, Welles (and nearly the entire Mercury Theatre troupe) moved to Hollywood. He commuted weekly to New York to maintain his commitment to The Campbell Playhouse.

Welles toyed with various ideas for his first project for RKO Radio Pictures, settling on an adaptation of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, which he worked on in great detail. He planned to film the action with a subjective camera (a technique later used in the Robert Montgomery film Lady in the Lake). When a budget was drawn up, RKO's enthusiasm cooled because it was greater than the previously agreed limit. RKO also declined to approve another Welles project, The Smiler With the Knife, based on the Cecil Day-Lewis novel, ostensibly because RKO executives lacked faith in Lucille Ball's ability to carry the film as the leading lady.

In a sign of things to comeTemplate:Citation needed, Welles left The Campbell Playhouse in 1940 due to creative differences with the sponsor. The show continued without him, produced by John Houseman. In perhaps another sign of things to comeTemplate:Citation needed, Welles's first experience on a Hollywood film was narrator for RKO's 1940 production of The Swiss Family Robinson.

Citizen Kane[]


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Welles in Citizen Kane (1941)

RKO, having rejected Welles's first two movie proposals, agreed on the third offer, Citizen Kane, for which Welles co-wrote, produced, directed, and performed the lead role.[24]

Welles found a suitable film project in an idea he conceived with screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, (who was then writing radio plays for The Campbell Playhouse). Initially entitled The American, it eventually became Welles's first feature film (also his most famous and honored role), Citizen Kane (1941).

Mankiewicz based his original notion on an exposé of the life of William Randolph Hearst, whom he knew socially but came to hate, having once been great friends with Hearst's mistress, Marion Davies. Mankiewicz had been banished from her company because of his perpetual drunkenness. Mankiewicz, a notorious gossip, exacted revenge with his unflattering depiction of Davies in Citizen Kane for which Welles bore most of the criticisms. Welles also had a connection with Davies through his first wife.

Kane's megalomania was modeled loosely on Robert McCormick, Howard Hughes, and Joseph Pulitzer as Welles wanted to create a broad, complex character, intending to show him in the same scenes from several points of view. The use of multiple narrative perspectives in Conrad's Heart of Darkness influenced the treatment.

Supplying Mankiewicz with 300 pages of notes, Welles urged him to write the first draft of a screenplay under John Houseman, who was posted to ensure Mankiewicz stayed sober. On Welles's instruction, Houseman wrote the opening narration as a pastiche of The March of Time newsreels. Orson Welles explained to Peter Bogdanovich about the writers working separately by saying, "I left him on his own finally, because we'd started to waste too much time haggling. So, after mutual agreements on storyline and character, Mank went off with Houseman and did his version, while I stayed in Hollywood and wrote mine."[24] Taking these drafts, Welles drastically condensed and rearranged them, then added scenes of his own. The industry accused Welles of underplaying Mankiewicz's contribution to the script, but Welles countered the attacks by saying, "At the end, naturally, I was the one making the picture, after all—who had to make the decisions. I used what I wanted of Mank's and, rightly or wrongly, kept what I liked of my own."[25]

Charles Foster Kane is based loosely on parts of Hearst's life. Nonetheless, autobiographical allusions to Welles were worked in, most noticeably in the treatment of Kane's childhood and particularly, regarding his guardianship. Welles then added features from other famous American lives to create a general and mysterious personality, rather than the narrow journalistic portrait intended by Mankiewicz, whose first drafts included scandalous claims about the death of the film director Thomas Ince.

Once the script was completed, Welles attracted some of Hollywood's best technicians, including cinematographer Gregg Toland, who walked into Welles's office and announced he wanted to work on the picture. Welles later described Toland as "the fastest cameraman who ever lived."[24] For the cast, Welles primarily used actors from his Mercury Theatre. He invited suggestions from everyone but only if they were directed through him. Filming Citizen Kane took ten weeks.[24]


Mankiewicz handed a copy of the final shooting script to his friend, Charles Lederer, husband of Welles's ex-wife, Virginia Nicholson, as well as the nephew of Hearst's mistress, Marion Davies. Gossip columnist Hedda Hopper saw a small ad in a newspaper for a preview screening of Citizen Kane and went. Hopper, realizing immediately that the film was based on features of Hearst's life, reported this back to him and he threatened to give "Hollywood, Private Lives" if that was what it wanted. Thus began the struggle over the attempted suppression of Citizen Kane.

Hearst's media outlets boycotted the film. They exerted enormous pressure on the Hollywood film community by threatening to expose fifteen years of suppressed scandals and the fact that most of the studio bosses were Jewish. At one point, the heads of the major studios jointly offered RKO the cost of the film in exchange for the negative and all existing prints, fully intending to burn them. RKO declined and the film was given a limited release. Hearst intimidated theater chains by threatening to ban advertising for any of their other films in any of his papers if they showed Citizen Kane.

The film was well-received critically, with Bosley Crowther, film critic for the New York Times calling it "close to being the most sensational film ever made in Hollywood".[26] By the time it reached the general public, though, the publicity had waned. It garnered nine Academy Award nominations (Orson nominated as a producer, director, writer, and actor), but won only for Best Original Screenplay, shared by Mankiewicz and Welles. Although it was largely ignored at the Academy Awards, Citizen Kane now is hailed as one of the greatest films ever made. Andrew Sarris called it "the work that influenced the cinema more profoundly than any American film since The Birth of a Nation."[24]

The delay in its release and its uneven distribution contributed to its average result at the box office, making back its budget and marketing, but RKO lost any chance of a major profit. The fact that Citizen Kane ignored many Hollywood conventions also meant that the film confused and angered the 1940s cinema public. Exhibitor response was scathing; most theater owners complained bitterly about the adverse audience reaction and the many walkouts. Only a few saw fit to acknowledge Welles's artistic technique. RKO shelved the film and did not re-release it until 1956.

During the 1950s, the film came to be seen by young French film critics such as François Truffaut as exemplifying the "auteur theory", in which the director is the "author" of a film. Truffaut, Godard and others inspired by Welles's example made their own films, giving birth to the Nouvelle Vague. In the 1960s Citizen Kane became popular on college campuses as a film-study exercise and as an entertainment subject. Its frequent revivals on television, home video, and DVD have enhanced its "classic" status and ultimately it recouped its costs. The film still is considered by most film critics and historians to be one of the greatest motion pictures in cinema history.

The Magnificent Ambersons[]

Welles's second film for RKO was The Magnificent Ambersons, adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Booth Tarkington. George Schaefer hoped to make money with this film, since he lost money with Citizen Kane. Ambersons already had been adapted for The Campbell Playhouse by Welles for the stage, and he then wrote the screen adaptation. Toland was not available, so Stanley Cortez was named cinematographer. The meticulous Cortez, however, was slow and the film lagged behind schedule and over budget. Prior to production, Welles's contract was renegotiated, revoking his right to control the final cut.

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Joseph Cotten as Eugene Morgan in The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

At RKO's request, simultaneously, Welles worked on an adaptation of Eric Ambler's spy thriller, Journey into Fear, which he co-wrote with Joseph Cotten. In addition to acting in the film, Welles was also producer. Direction was credited solely to Norman Foster. Welles later stated that they were in such a rush that the director of each scene was determined by whoever was closest to the camera.

CBS then offered Welles a new radio series called The Orson Welles Show. It was a half-hour variety show of short stories, comedy skits, poetry, and musical numbers. Joining the original Mercury Theatre cast for the show, was Cliff Edwards, the voice of Jiminy Cricket, "on loan from Walt Disney". The variety format was unpopular with listeners and Welles soon was forced to limit the content of the show simply to telling a one half-hour story for the entirety of each episode.

It's All True[]

To further complicate matters during the production of Ambersons and Journey into Fear, Welles was approached by Nelson Rockefeller and Jock Whitney to produce a documentary film about South America. This was at the behest of the federal government's Good Neighbor policy, a wartime propaganda effort designed to prevent Latin America from allying with the Axis powers. Welles saw his involvement as a form of national service, since his physical condition Template:Clarify excused him from direct military service.

Expected to film the Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Welles rushed to finish the editing on Ambersons and his acting scenes in Journey into Fear. Ending his CBS radio show, he lashed together a rough cut of Ambersons with Robert Wise, who had edited Citizen Kane, and left for Brazil. Wise was to join him in Rio to complete the film, but never arrived. A provisional final cut arranged via phone call, telegram, and shortwave radio was previewed without Welles's approval in Pomona in a double bill, to a mostly negative audience response, particularly to the character of Aunt Fanny played by Agnes Moorehead. Whereas Schaefer argued that Welles be allowed to complete his own version of the film, and that an archival copy be kept with the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, RKO disagreed. With Welles in South America, there was no practical means of having him edit the film.

As a result of the difficult financial circumstances that RKO found itself in across the period 1940–42, major changes occurred at the studio in 1942[27] Floyd Odlum took over control of RKO and began changing its direction. Rockefeller, the most significant backer of the Brazil project, left the RKO board of directors. Around the same time, the principal sponsor of Welles at RKO, studio president George Schaefer, resigned. The changes throughout RKO caused reevaluations of many projects. RKO took control of Ambersons, formed a committee, which was ordered to edit the film into what the studio considered a commercial format. They removed fifty minutes of Welles's footage, re-shot sequences, rearranged the scene order, and added a happy ending. Koerner released the shortened film on the bottom of a double-bill with the Lupe Vélez comedy, Mexican Spitfire Sees a Ghost. Ambersons was an expensive flop for RKO, although it received four Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress for Agnes Moorehead.

Welles's South American documentary, entitled It's All True, budgeted at one million dollars with half of its budget coming from the U.S. Government upon completion, grew in ambition and budget while Welles was in South America. While the film originally was to be a documentary on Carnaval, Welles added a new story which recreated the journey of the jangadeiros, four poor fishermen who had made a Template:Convert journey on their open raft to petition Brazilian President Vargas about their working conditions. The four had become national folk heroes; Welles first read of their journey in TIME. Their leader, Jacare, died during a filming mishap. RKO, in limited contact with Welles, attempted to rein in the production. Most of the crew and budget were withdrawn from the film. In addition, the Mercury staff was removed from the studio in the U.S.

Welles requested resources to finish the film. He was given a limited amount of black-and-white stock and a silent camera. He completed the sequence, but RKO refused to support any further production on the film. Surviving footage was released in 1993, including a rough reconstruction of the "Four Men on a Raft" segment. Meanwhile, RKO asserted in public that Welles had gone to Brazil without a screenplay and that he had squandered a million dollars. Their official company slogan for the next year was, "Showmanship in place of Genius" – which was taken as a slight against Welles.

Director for hire (1943–1946)[]

On returning to Hollywood, Welles found no studios interested in hiring him as a film director after the twin disasters of The Magnificent Ambersons and It's All True. Welles next worked on radio. CBS offered him two weekly series, Hello Americans, based on the research he'd done in Brazil, and Ceiling Unlimited, sponsored by Lockheed, a wartime salute to advances in aviation. Both featured several members of his original Mercury Theatre troupe. Within a few months, Hello Americans was canceled and Welles was replaced as host of Ceiling Unlimited by Joseph Cotten. Welles guest-starred on a great variety of shows, notably guest-hosting Jack Benny shows for a month in 1943. He took an increasingly active role in American and international politics and used journalism to communicate his forceful ideas widely.

In 1943, Welles married Rita Hayworth. They had one child, Rebecca Welles, and divorced five years later in 1948. In between, Welles found work as an actor in other directors' films. He starred in the 1944 film adaptation of Jane Eyre, trading credit as associate producer for top billing over Joan Fontaine. He also had a cameo in the 1944 wartime salute Follow the Boys, in which he performed his Mercury Wonder Show magic act and "sawed" Marlene Dietrich in half after Columbia Pictures head Harry Cohn refused to allow Hayworth to perform.

In 1944, Welles was offered a new radio show, broadcast only in California, Orson Welles' Almanac. It was another half-hour variety show, with Mobil Oil as sponsor. After the success of his stand-in hosting on The Jack Benny Show, the focus was primarily on comedy. His hosting on the Jack Benny show included several self-deprecating jokes and story lines about his being a "genius" and overriding any ideas advanced by other cast members. The trade papers were not eager to accept Welles as a comedian, and Welles often complained on-air about the poor quality of the scripts. When Welles started his Mercury Wonder Show a few months later, traveling to armed forces camps and performing magic tricks and doing comedy, the radio show was broadcast live from the camps and the material took on a decidedly wartime flavor. Of his original Mercury actors, only Agnes Moorehead remained working with him. The series was cancelled by year's end due to poor ratings.

While he found no studio willing to hire him as a film director, Welles's popularity as an actor continued. Pabst Blue Ribbon gave Welles their radio series This Is My Best to direct, but after one month he was fired for creative differences. He started writing a political column for the New York Post, again called Orson Welles's Almanac. While the paper wanted Welles to write about Hollywood gossip, Welles explored serious political issues. His activism for world peace took considerable amounts of his time. The Post column eventually failed in syndication because of contradictory expectations and was dropped by the Post.

Post-war work (1946–1948)[]

The Stranger[]

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L. to R. : Edward G. Robinson, Richard Long, Loretta Young, Martha Wentworth, Orson Welles, Philip Merivale, Byron Keith & unknown, in The Stranger (1946)

In 1946, International Pictures released Welles's film The Stranger, starring Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, and Welles. Sam Spiegel produced the film, which follows the hunt for a Nazi war criminal living under an alias in America. While Anthony Veiller was credited with the screenplay, it had been rewritten by Welles and John Huston. Disputes occurred during the editing process between Spiegel and Welles. The film became a box office success and it helped his standing with the studios.

In the summer of 1946, Welles directed a musical stage version of Around the World in Eighty Days, with a comedic and ironic rewriting of the Jules Verne novel by Welles, incidental music and songs by Cole Porter, and production by Mike Todd, who would later produce the successful film version with David Niven. When Todd pulled out from the lavish and expensive production, Welles alone supported the finances. When he ran out of money at one point, he convinced Columbia president Harry Cohn to send him enough to continue the show, and in exchange, Welles promised to write, produce, direct, and star in a film for Cohn for no further fee. The stage show soon failed, due to poor box-office, with Welles unable to claim the losses on his taxes. The complicated financial arrangements concerning the show, its losses, and Welles's arrangement with Cohn, resulted in a tax dispute with the IRS.

At the same time in 1946 he began two new radio series, The Mercury Summer Theatre for CBS and Orson Welles Commentaries for ABC. While Summer Theatre featured half-hour adaptations of some of the classic Mercury radio shows from the 1930s, the first episode was a condensation of his Around the World stage play, and remains the only record of Cole Porter's music for the project. Several original Mercury actors returned for the series, as well as Bernard Herrmann. It only was scheduled for the summer months, and Welles invested his earnings into his failing stage play. Commentaries was a political vehicle for him, continuing the themes from his New York Post column. Again, Welles lacked a clear focus, until the NAACP brought to his attention the case of Isaac Woodard. Welles brought significant attention to Woodard's cause. Soon Welles was being hanged in effigy in the South and theaters refused to show The Stranger in several southern states.

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Welles as Michael O'Hara in The Lady from Shanghai (1947)

The Lady from Shanghai[]

The film Welles was obliged to make for Cohn helping him complete Around the World in Eighty Days ended up being The Lady from Shanghai, filmed in 1947 for Columbia Pictures. Intended to be a modest thriller, the budget skyrocketed after Cohn suggested that Welles's then-estranged second wife Rita Hayworth co-star. Cohn disliked Welles's rough-cut, particularly the confusing plot and lack of close-ups, and was not in sympathy with Welles's Brechtian use of irony and black comedy, especially in a farcical courtroom scene. Cohn ordered extensive editing and re-shoots. After heavy editing by the studio, approximately one hour of Welles's first cut had been removed, including much of a climactic confrontation scene in an amusement park funhouse. While expressing displeasure at the cuts, Welles was appalled particularly at the musical score. The film was considered a disaster in America at the time of release, though the closing shootout in a hall of mirrors has since become one of the touchstones of film noir. Not long after release, Welles and Hayworth finalized their divorce. Although The Lady From Shanghai was acclaimed in Europe, it was not embraced in the U.S. for several decades. Influential modern critics including David Kehr have subsequently declared it a masterpiece, with Kehr calling it "the weirdest great movie ever made." A similar situation occurred when Welles suggested to Charlie Chaplin that he star in a film directed by Welles based on the life of the French serial killer, Henri Désiré Landru. Instead, Chaplin adapted the idea for his own film, Monsieur Verdoux, with Welles officially credited for the idea.


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Welles as the title character in Macbeth

In 1948, Welles convinced Republic Pictures to let him direct a low-budget version of Macbeth, which featured extremely stylized sets and costumes, and a cast of actors lip-syncing to a prerecorded soundtrack, one of many innovative cost-cutting techniques Welles deployed in an attempt to make an epic film from B-movie resources. The script, adapted by Welles, is a violent reworking of the Shakespearean original, freely cutting and pasting lines into new contexts via a collage technique, and recasting Macbeth as a clash of pagan and proto-Christian ideologies. Some of the voodoo trappings of the famous Welles/Houseman Negro Theatre stage adaptation are also visible, especially in the film's characterization of the Weird Sisters, who create an effigy of Macbeth as a charm to enchant him. Of all Welles's post-Kane Hollywood productions, Macbeth is closest to Citizen Kane in its use of long takes and deep focus photography. Shots of the increasingly isolated Scottish king looming in the foreground while other characters address him from deep in the background overtly reference Kane.

Republic initially trumpeted the film as an important work but decided it did not care for the Scottish accents on the soundtrack and held up general release for almost a year after early negative press reaction, which included Life Magazine's comment that Welles's film "doth foully slaughter Shakespeare."Template:Citation needed Welles left for Europe, while his co-producer and life-long supporter Richard Wilson reworked the soundtrack. Welles ultimately returned and cut twenty minutes from the film at Republic's request and recorded narration to cover the gaps. The film was decried as another disaster. Macbeth had its share of influential fans in Europe, especially the French poet and filmmaker Jean Cocteau, who hailed the film's "crude, irreverent power" and careful shot design, and described the characters as haunting "the corridors of some dreamlike subway, an abandoned coal mine, and ruined cellars oozing with water."Template:Citation needed In the late 1970s, a fully restored version of Macbeth was released that followed Welles's original vision, and all prints of the truncated continuity have gradually been withdrawn from circulation, turning Welles's compulsory recut, which has the distinction of being created by the director himself, into something of a lost work.

Welles in Europe (1948–1956)[]

Welles left Hollywood for Europe in late 1947, enigmatically saying that he had chosen "freedom." In Italy he starred as Cagliostro in the 1948 film Black Magic. His co-star, Akim Tamiroff, impressed Welles so much that Tamiroff would appear in four of Welles's own productions during the 1950s and 1960s.

The Third Man[]


Joseph Cotten as writer Holly Martins (left) and Welles (right) as Harry Lime in The Third Man (1949)

The following year, Welles starred as Harry Lime in Carol Reed's The Third Man, alongside Joseph Cotten, his good friend and co-star from Citizen Kane, with a script by Graham Greene and a memorable zither score by Anton Karas. The film was an international smash hit, but unfortunately Welles had turned down a percentage of the gross in exchange for a lump-sum advance. A few years later British radio producer Harry Alan Towers would resurrect the Lime character for radio in the series The Lives of Harry Lime. The 1951 series included new recordings by Karas, was very successful, and ran for 52 weeks. Welles claimed to write a handful of episodes—a claim disputed by Towers, who maintains they were written by Ernest Borneman—which later would serve as the basis for the screenplay by Welles, Mr. Arkadin (1955).

Welles also appeared as Cesare Borgia in the 1949 Italian film Prince of Foxes, with Tyrone Power and Mercury Theatre alumnus Everett Sloane, and as the Mongol warrior Bayan in the 1950 film version of the novel The Black Rose (again with Tyrone Power).


During this time, Welles was channeling his money from acting jobs into a self-financed film version of Shakespeare's play Othello. From 1949 to 1951, Welles worked on Othello, filming on location in Europe and Morocco. The film featured Welles's old friends, Micheál Mac Liammóir as Iago and Hilton Edwards as Desdemona's father Brabantio. Suzanne Cloutier starred as Desdemona and Campbell Playhouse alumnus Robert Coote appeared as Iago's associate Roderigo.

File:Welles as Othello.JPG

Orson Welles as the title character in the 1952 film Othello.

Filming was suspended several times as Welles ran out of funds and left to find other acting jobs, accounted in detail in MacLiammóir's published memoir Put Money in Thy Purse. When it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival it won the Palme d'Or, but was not given a general release in the United States until 1955 (by which time Welles had re-cut the first reel and re-dubbed most of the film, removing Cloutier's voice entirely), and it played only in New York and Los Angeles. The American release prints had a technically flawed soundtrack, suffering from a complete drop-out of sound at every quiet moment. It was one of these flawed prints that was restored by Welles's daughter, Beatrice Welles-Smith in 1992 for a wide re-release. The restoration included reconstructing Angelo Francesco Lavagnino's original musical score (which was inaudible) and adding ambient stereo sound effects (which weren't in the original film). The subject of great controversy among film scholars, the restoration went on to a successful theatrical run in America. A print of the U.S. version was released on laser-disc in 1995 and soon withdrawn after a legal challenge by Beatrice Welles-Smith. The original Cannes version has survived, but is not available commercially.

In 1952 Welles continued finding work in England, after the success of the Harry Lime radio show. Harry Alan Towers offered Welles another series, The Black Museum, with Welles as host and narrator, and this would also run 52 weeks. Director Herbert Wilcox offered him the part of the murdered victim in Trent's Last Case, based on the novel by E. C. Bentley. In 1953 the BBC hired Welles to read an hour of selections from Walt Whitman's epic poem Song of Myself. Towers hired Welles again, to play Professor Moriarty in the radio series, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, starring John Gielgud, and Ralph Richardson.

Late in 1953, Welles returned to America to star in a live CBS Omnibus television presentation of Shakespeare's King Lear. The cast included MacLiammóir and the British actor, Alan Badel. While Welles received good notices, he was guarded by IRS agents, prohibited to leave his hotel room when not at the studio, prevented from making any purchases, and the entire sum (less expenses) he earned went to his tax bill. Welles returned to England after the broadcast.

In 1954, director George More O'Ferrall offered Welles the title role in the 'Lord Mountdrago' segment of Three Cases of Murder, co-starring Badel. Herbert Wilcox cast him as the antagonist in Trouble in the Glen opposite Margaret Lockwood, Forrest Tucker, and Victor McLaglen. Old friend John Huston cast him as Father Mapple in his 1956 film adaptation of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, starring Gregory Peck.

Mr. Arkadin[]

Welles's next turn as director was the film Mr. Arkadin (1955), which was produced by his political mentor from the 1940s, Louis Dolivet. It was filmed in France, Germany, Spain and Italy on a very limited budget. Based loosely on several episodes of the Harry Lime radio show, it stars Welles as a billionaire who hires a man to delve into the secrets of his past. The film stars Robert Arden, who had worked on the Harry Lime series; Welles's third wife, Paola Mori, whose voice was dubbed by actress Billie Whitelaw; and guest stars Akim Tamiroff, Michael Redgrave, Katina Paxinou and Mischa Auer. Frustrated by his slow progress in the editing room, producer Dolivet removed Welles from the project and finished the film without him. Eventually five different versions of the film would be released, two in Spanish and three in English. The version that Dolivet completed was retitled Confidential Report. In 2005 Stefan Droessler of the Munich Filmmuseum oversaw a reconstruction of the surviving film elements. Included in a DVD box set (The Complete Mr. Arkadin) released by The Criterion Collection, it is considered by Welles scholar and director Peter Bogdanovich to be the best version of Welles's original intentions for the film.

In 1955 Welles also directed two television series for the BBC. The first was The Orson Welles Sketchbook, a series of six 15-minute shows featuring Welles drawing in a sketchbook to illustrate his reminiscences for the camera (including such topics as the filming of It's All True and the Isaac Woodard case), and the second was Around the World with Orson Welles, a series of six travelogues set in different locations around Europe (such as Venice, the Basque Country between France and Spain, and England). Welles served as host and interviewer, his commentary including documentary facts and his own personal observations (a technique he would continue to explore). A seventh episode of this series, based on the Gaston Dominici case, was suppressed at the time by the French government, but was reconstructed after Welles's death and released to video in 1999.

In 1956 Welles completed Portrait of Gina, posthumously aired on German television under the title Viva Italia, a 30-minute personal essay on Gina Lollobrigida and the general subject of Italian sex symbols. Dissatisfied with the results—Welles recalled he had worked on it a lot and the result looked like it—he left the only print behind at the Ritz Hotel in Paris. The film cans would remain in a lost-and-found locker at the hotel for several decades, where they were discovered after Welles's death.

Return to Hollywood (1956–1959)[]

In 1956, Welles returned to Hollywood, guesting on radio shows (notably as narrator of Tomorrow, a nuclear holocaust drama produced by the Federal Civil Defense Administration). He guest starred on television shows, including I Love Lucy, and began filming a projected pilot for Desilu, owned by Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz, who had recently purchased the former RKO studios. The film was The Fountain of Youth, based on a story by John Collier. Originally deemed not viable as a pilot, the film wasn't aired until 1958. It won the Peabody Award for excellence. Welles's next feature film role was in Man in the Shadow for Universal Pictures in 1957, starring Jeff Chandler. Around this time period, however, Welles began to suffer from weight problems that would eventually cause a deterioration in his health.

Touch of Evil[]

File:Touch of Evil-Orson Welles.JPG

Welles as corrupt police captain Hank Quinlan in Touch of Evil (1958)

Welles stayed on at Universal to direct (and co-star with) Charlton Heston in the 1958 film Touch of Evil, based on Whit Masterson's novel Badge of Evil (Welles, who wrote the screenplay for the film, claimed never to have read the book). Originally only hired as an actor, Welles was promoted to director by Universal Studios at the insistence of Charlton Heston. Reuniting many actors and technicians with whom he'd worked in Hollywood in the 1940s (including cameraman Russell Metty (The Stranger), make-up artist Maurice Siederman (Citizen Kane), and actors Joseph Cotten, Marlene Dietrich, and Akim Tamiroff), filming proceeded smoothly, with Welles finishing on schedule and on budget, and the studio bosses praising the daily rushes. After the end of production, the studio re-edited the film, re-shot scenes, and shot new exposition scenes to clarify the plot. Welles wrote a 58-page memo outlining suggestions and objections. The studio followed a few of the ideas, but cut another 30 minutes from the film and released it. The film was widely praised across Europe, awarded the top prize at the Brussels World's Fair.

In 1978, the long preview version of the film was rediscovered and released. In 1998, editor Walter Murch and producer Rick Schmidlin, consulting the original memo, used a workprint version to attempt to create a version of the film as close as possible to that outlined in the memo. This is at best a compromise that should not be mistaken for Welles's original intent. Welles stated in that memo that the film was no longer his version—it was the studio's, but as such, he was still prepared to help them with it.

As Universal reworked Touch of Evil, Welles began filming his adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes' novel Don Quixote in Mexico, starring Mischa Auer as Quixote and Akim Tamiroff as Sancho Panza. While filming would continue in fits and starts for several years, Welles would never complete the project.

Welles continued acting, notably in The Long, Hot Summer (1958) and Compulsion (1959), but soon returned to Europe.

Return to Europe (1959–1970)[]

He continued shooting Don Quixote in Spain, but replaced Mischa Auer with Francisco Reiguera, and resumed acting jobs. In Italy in 1959, Welles directed his own scenes as King Saul in Richard Pottier's film David and Goliath. In Hong Kong he co-starred with Curt Jürgens in Lewis Gilbert's film Ferry to Hong Kong. In 1960, in Paris he co-starred in Richard Fleischer's film Crack in the Mirror. In Yugoslavia he starred in Richard Thorpe's film The Tartars.

By this time he had ceased filming Quixote. Though he would continue toying with the editing well into the 1970s, he never completed the film. As the process went on, Welles gradually voiced all of the characters himself and provided narration. In 1992, the director Jesús Franco constructed a film out of the portions of Quixote left behind by Welles. Some of the film stock had decayed badly. While the Welles footage was greeted with interest, the post-production by Franco was met with harsh criticism.

In 1961 Welles directed In the Land of Don Quixote, a series of eight half-hour episodes for the Italian television network RAI. Similar to the Around the World with Orson Welles series, they presented travelogues of Spain and included Welles's wife, Paola, and their daughter, Beatrice. Though Welles was fluent in Italian, the network was not interested in him providing Italian narration because of his accent, and the series sat unreleased until 1964, by which time the network had added Italian narration of its own. Ultimately, versions of the episodes were released with the original musical score Welles had approved, but without the narration.

The Trial[]

In 1962 Welles directed his adaptation of The Trial, based on the novel by Franz Kafka and produced by Alexander Salkind and Michael Salkind. The cast included Anthony Perkins as Josef K, Jeanne Moreau, Romy Schneider, Paola Mori and Akim Tamiroff. While filming exteriors in Zagreb, Welles was informed that the Salkinds had run out of money, meaning that there could be no set construction. No stranger to shooting on found locations, Welles soon filmed the interiors in the Gare d'Orsay, at that time an abandoned railway station in Paris. Welles thought the location possessed a "Jules Verne modernism" and a melancholy sense of "waiting", both suitable for Kafka. The film failed at the box-office. Peter Bogdanovich would later observe that Welles found the film riotously funny. During the filming, Welles met Oja Kodar, who would later become his muse, star and mistress for the last twenty years of his life. Welles also stated in an interview with the BBC that it was his best film.[28]

Welles played a film director in La Ricotta (1963)—Pier Paolo Pasolini's segment of the Ro.Go.Pa.G. movie, although his renowned voice was dubbed by Italian writer Giorgio Bassani.[29] He continued taking what work he could find acting, narrating or hosting other people's work, and began filming Chimes at Midnight, which was completed in 1966. Filmed in Spain, it was a condensation of five Shakespeare plays, telling the story of Falstaff and his relationship with Prince Hal. The cast included Keith Baxter, John Gielgud, Jeanne Moreau, Fernando Rey and Margaret Rutherford, with narration by Ralph Richardson. Music was again by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino. Jess Franco served as second unit director.

Chimes at Midnight[]

Chimes at Midnight was based on Welles's play Five Kings which condensed five of Shakespeare's plays into one show in order to focus on the story of Falstaff. Welles produced the show in New York in 1939 but the opening night, where part 1 was acted, was a disaster and part 2 was never put on. He revamped the show and revisited it in 1960 at the Gate Theatre in Dublin. But again, it was not successful. However, this later production was used as the base for the movie. The script contained text from five plays: primarily Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2, but also Richard II, Henry V, and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Keith Baxter played Prince Hal, and internationally respected Shakespearean interpreter, John Gielgud, played the King, Henry IV. The film's narration, spoken by Ralph Richardson, is taken from the chronicler Raphael Holinshed. According to Jeanne Moreau, Welles delayed filming for two weeks due to stage fright. Welles held this film in high regard and considered it, along with The Trial, his best work. As he remarked in 1982, "If I wanted to get into heaven on the basis of one movie, that's the one I'd offer up."[30]

In 1966, Welles directed a film for French television, an adaptation of The Immortal Story, by Karen Blixen. Released in 1968, it stars Jeanne Moreau, Roger Coggio and Norman Eshley. The film had a successful run in French theaters. At this time Welles met Kodar again, and gave her a letter he had written to her and had been keeping for four years; they would not be parted again. They immediately began a collaboration both personal and professional. The first of these was an adaptation of Blixen's The Heroine, meant to be a companion piece to The Immortal Story and starring Kodar. Unfortunately, funding disappeared after one day's shooting. After completing this film, he appeared in a brief cameo as Cardinal Wolsey in Fred Zinnemann's adaptation of A Man for All Seasons—a role for which he won considerable acclaim.

In 1967 Welles began directing The Deep, based on the novel Dead Calm by Charles Williams and filmed off the shore of Yugoslavia. The cast included Jeanne Moreau, Laurence Harvey and Kodar. Personally financed by Welles and Kodar, they could not obtain the funds to complete the project, and it was abandoned a few years later after the death of Harvey. The surviving footage was eventually edited and released by the Filmmuseum München. In 1968 Welles began filming a TV special for CBS under the title Orson's Bag, combining travelogue, comedy skits and a condensation of Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice with Welles as Shylock. Funding for the show sent by CBS to Welles in Switzerland was seized by the IRS. Without funding, the show was not completed. The surviving film clips portions were eventually released by the Filmmuseum München.

In 1969, Welles authorized the use of his name for a cinema in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Orson Welles Cinema remained in operation until 1986, with Welles making a personal appearance there in 1977. Also in 1969 he played a supporting role in John Huston's The Kremlin Letter. Drawn by the numerous offers he received to work in television and films, and upset by a tabloid scandal reporting his affair with Kodar, Welles abandoned the editing of Don Quixote and moved back to America in 1970.

Final years (1970–1985)[]

Welles returned to Hollywood, where he continued to self-finance his own film and television projects. While offers to act, narrate and host continued, Welles also found himself in great demand on talk shows, and made frequent appearances for Dick Cavett, Johnny Carson, Dean Martin, and Merv Griffin. Welles's primary focus in this period was filming The Other Side of the Wind, a project that took six years to film but has remained unfinished and unreleased. An early role was portraying Louis XVIII of France in Waterloo (1970). Welles also narrated the beginning and ending scenes of the Bud Yorkin historical comedy Start the Revolution Without Me (1970), which starred Gene Wilder, Donald Sutherland, and Hugh Griffith, among others.


Orson Welles (above) as Long John Silver in the film Treasure Island (1972)

In 1971 Welles directed a short adaptation of Moby-Dick, a one-man performance on a bare stage, reminiscent of his stage production Moby Dick Rehearsed from the 1950s. Never completed, it was eventually released by the Filmmuseum München. He also appeared in La Décade prodigieuse, co-starring with Anthony Perkins and directed by Claude Chabrol, based on a detective novel by Ellery Queen. That same year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave him an honorary award "For superlative artistry and versatility in the creation of motion pictures". Welles pretended to be out of town and sent John Huston to claim the award. Huston criticized the Academy for awarding Welles while they refused to give him any work.

In 1972, Welles acted as on-screen narrator for the film documentary version of Alvin Toffler's 1970 book Future Shock. Working again for a British producer, Welles played Long John Silver in director John Hough's Treasure Island (1972), an adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson novel, which had been the second story broadcast by The Mercury Theatre on the Air in 1938. Welles also contributed to the script, his writing credit was attributed to the pseudonym 'O. W. Jeeves'. Welles original recorded dialog was re dubbed by Robert Rietty.

In 1973, Welles completed F for Fake, a personal essay film about art forger Elmyr de Hory and the biographer Clifford Irving. Based on an existing documentary by François Reichenbach, it included new material with Oja Kodar, Joseph Cotten, Paul Stewart and William Alland. An excerpt of Welles's 1930s War of the Worlds broadcast was recreated for this film, however none of the dialogue heard in the film actually matches what was originally broadcast. Welles filmed a five minute trailer, rejected in the US, that featured several shots of a topless Kodar.

Welles hosted and narrated a syndicated anthology series, Orson Welles's Great Mysteries, over the 1973–1974 television season. It did not last beyond that season; however, the program could be perceived as a television revival of the Mercury Theatre whose executive producer Welles had been in the 1930s and 1940s.

In 1975, Welles narrated the documentary Bugs Bunny: Superstar, focusing on Warner Bros. cartoons from the 1940s. Also in 1975, the American Film Institute presented Welles with its third Lifetime Achievement Award (the first two going to director John Ford and actor James Cagney). At the ceremony, Welles screened two scenes from the nearly finished The Other Side of the Wind. Filming had begun in 1972 and by 1976, Welles had almost completed the film. Financed by Iranian backers, ownership of the film fell into a legal quagmire after the Shah of Iran was deposed. Written by Welles, the story told of a destructive old film director looking for funds to complete his final film. It starred John Huston and the cast included Peter Bogdanovich, Susan Strasberg, Norman Foster, Edmond O'Brien, Cameron Mitchell, and Dennis Hopper. While there have been several reports of all the legal disputes concerning ownership of the film being settled, enough disputes still exist to prevent its release. The Showtime cable network has promised support for the project should the various entanglements associated with it be resolved.

In 1976, Paramount Television purchased the rights for the entire set of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe stories for Orson Welles.[31] Paramount planned to begin with an ABC-TV movie and hoped to persuade Welles to continue the role in a mini-series.[32] Frank D. Gilroy was signed to write the television script and direct the TV movie on the assurance that Welles would star, but by April 1977 Welles had bowed out.[33] In 1980 the Associated Press reported "the distinct possibility" that Welles would star in a Nero Wolfe TV series for NBC television.[34] Again, Welles bowed out of the project due to creative differences and William Conrad was cast in the role.[35] Welles had once wanted to make a series of Nero Wolfe movies, but Rex Stout — who declined Hollywood adaptations during his lifetime after two disappointing 1930s films — turned him down.[36]

In 1979 Welles completed his documentary Filming Othello, which featured Michael MacLiammoir and Hilton Edwards. Made for West German television, it was also released in theaters. That same year, Welles completed his self-produced pilot for The Orson Welles Show television series, featuring interviews with Burt Reynolds, Jim Henson and Frank Oz and guest-starring The Muppets and Angie Dickinson. Unable to find network interest, the pilot was never broadcast. In 1979 Welles also appeared in the biopic The Secret of Nikola Tesla, and a cameo in The Muppet Movie as Lew Lord.

Beginning in the late 1970s, Welles participated in a series of famous television commercial advertisements. For two years he was on-camera spokesman for the Paul Masson Vineyards,[37] and sales grew by one third during the time Welles intoned what became a popular catchphrase: "We will sell no wine before its time."[38] He was also the voice behind the long-running Carlsberg "Probably the best lager in the world" campaign[39] and promoted Domecq sherry on British television.[40]

In 1981, Welles hosted the documentary The Man Who Saw Tomorrow, about Renaissance-era prophet Nostradamus. In 1982 the BBC broadcast The Orson Welles Story in the Arena series. Interviewed by Leslie Megahey, Welles examined his past in great detail, and several people from his professional past were interviewed as well. It was reissued in 1990 as With Orson Welles: Stories of a Life in Film. Welles provided narration for the tracks "Defender" from Manowar's album Fighting the World and "Dark Avenger" on Manowar's 1982 album, Battle Hymns. His name was misspelled on the latter album, as he was credited as "Orson Wells".[41]

During the 1980s, Welles worked on such film projects as The Dreamers, based on two stories by Isak Dinesen and starring Oja Kodar, and The Orson Welles Magic Show, which reused material from his failed TV pilot. Another project he worked on was Filming The Trial, the second in a proposed series of documentaries examining his feature films. While much was shot for these projects, none of them was completed. All of them were eventually released by the Filmmuseum München.

In 1984, Welles narrated the short-lived television series Scene of the Crime. During the early years of Magnum, P.I., Welles was the voice of the unseen character Robin Masters, a famous writer and playboy. Welles's death forced this minor character to largely be written out of the series. In an oblique homage to Welles, the Magnum, P.I. producers ambiguously concluded that story arc by having one character accuse another of having hired an actor to portray Robin Masters.[42]

The last film roles before Welles's death included voice work in the animated films The Enchanted Journey (1984) and The Transformers: The Movie (1986), in which he played the planet-eating robot Unicron. His last film appearance was in Henry Jaglom's 1987 independent film Someone to Love, released after his death but produced before his voice-over in Transformers: The Movie. His last television appearance was on the television show Moonlighting. He recorded an introduction to an episode entitled "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice", which was partially filmed in black and white. The episode aired five days after his death and was dedicated to his memory.

Personal life[]

Relationships and family[]

In 1934, Welles eloped with Chicago-born actress and socialite Virginia Nicolson. They divorced in 1940 after Welles's affair with Vera Zorina was vaguely mentioned in Walter Winchell's column.

Since 1932, Welles had fallen in love with Mexican actress, Dolores del Río. They lived a torrid romance between 1938 and 1942, though he was ten years her junior.[43] They collaborated together in the movie Journey into Fear but the affair ended soon afterward.

Welles married Rita Hayworth in 1943. The couple became estranged during the making of The Lady from Shanghai. After five years, Rita filed for divorce, her reason to the press being, "I can't take his genius any more."[44] During his last interview and only two hours before his death, Welles answered Merv Griffin's suggestive comment "But one of your wives—oh, I have envied you so many years for Rita Hayworth", by calling her "one of the dearest and sweetest women that ever lived" and saying that he was "lucky enough to have been with her longer than any of the other men in her life."[45]

In 1955 Welles married Italian actress Paola Mori (Countess Paola Di Girifalco). Estranged for decades, the couple were never divorced. Croatian-born actress Oja Kodar became Welles's longtime companion both personally and professionally from 1966 on. They lived together for the last twenty-four years of his life. A year after Orson's death, Paola and Oja finally agreed on the settling of his will. On the way to their meeting to sign the papers, however, Paola was killed in a car accident.

Welles had three children: author Christopher Welles, or Chris Welles Feder (born in 1938, with Virginia Nicolson), Rebecca Welles Manning (born December 17, 1944 – died October 14, 2004, with Rita Hayworth) and Beatrice Welles (born in 1955, with Paola Mori).

Some of Welles's claimed familial ties have not held up under scrutiny. Despite the persistent urban legend, promoted by Welles himself, he was not the great-grandson of Abraham Lincoln's wartime Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles. Perhaps the genesis of the myth dates to a 1970 interview on The Dick Cavett Show during which Welles remarks about his venerable great-grandfather Gideon Welles. Orson Welles's father was Richard Head Welles, son of his paternal grandfather Richard Jones Welles; Gideon Welles had no son by that name. His sons were Hubert (1833–1862), John Arthur (1845–1883), Thomas G. (1846–1892), and Edgar Thaddeus Welles (1843–1914).Template:Citation needed

Physical characteristics[]

According to a 1941 physical exam taken when he was 26, Welles was Template:Convert tall and weighed Template:Convert. His eyes were brown.[46] Other sources cite that he was Template:Convert tall, but the slates from costume tests made during the 1940s show him as Template:Convert. Welles gained a significant amount of weight in his 40s, eventually rendering him morbidly obese, at one point weighing nearly four hundred pounds (181.4 kg). His obesity was severe to the point that it restricted his ability to travel, aggravated other health conditions, including his asthma, and even required him to go on a diet in order to play the famously portly Sir John Falstaff.[47] Some have attributed his over-eating and drinking to depression over his marginalization by the Hollywood system.[48]

Religious beliefs[]

In April 1982, Merv Griffin interviewed Welles and asked about his religious beliefs. Welles replied, "I try to be a Christian, I don't pray really, because I don't want to bore God."[49] After the success of his 1941 film Citizen Kane, Welles announced that his next film would be about the life of Jesus, and that he would play the lead role. However, Welles never got around to making the film.[50] He narrated the Christian documentary The Late, Great Planet Earth as well as the 1961 Biblical film about the life of Christ, King of Kings.


Welles was politically active from the beginning of his career. He remained a man of the left throughout his life, and always defined his political orientation as "progressive". He was a strong supporter of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, and often spoke out on radio in support of progressive politics. In particular, he was an early and outspoken critic of American racism and the practice of segregation. He campaigned heavily for Roosevelt in the 1944 election. For several years, he wrote a newspaper column on political issues and briefly toyed with running for office. In 1970, Welles narrated (but did not write) a satirical political record on the administration of President Richard Nixon entitled The Begatting of the President.

In the 2006 book, Whatever Happened to Orson Welles?, writer Joseph McBride made several controversial claims about Welles. Though Welles said otherwise during his lifetime, McBride claimed Welles left America in the late 1940s to escape McCarthyism and the Hollywood blacklist.[51] McBride also claimed, in spite of the sexual content of Welles's contemporary work (F for Fake and the unfinished Other Side of the Wind), that Welles was extremely puritanical about sex based on his comment to Peter Bogdanovich that The Last Picture Show was "a dirty movie".[52]

Welles once told Cahiers du cinéma about sex in film, "In my opinion, there are two things that can absolutely not be carried to the screen: the realistic presentation of the sexual act and praying to God."[53]


On October 10, 1985, Welles did his final interview on The Merv Griffin Show. He died two hours later of a heart attack at his home in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California,[54] the same day as his Battle of Neretva co-star Yul Brynner. Welles's ashes were buried on the property of a long time friend, retired bullfighter Antonio Ordóñez, in Ronda, Spain.[55]

Unfinished projects[]

Welles's reliance on self-production meant that many of his later projects were filmed piecemeal or were not completed. Welles financed his later projects through his own fundraising activities. He often also took on other work to obtain money to fund his own films.

Don Quixote[]

In the mid-1950s, Welles began work on Don Quixote, initially a commission from CBS television. Welles expanded the film to feature length, developing the screenplay to take Quixote and Sancho Panza into the modern age. Filming stopped with the death of Francisco Reiguera, the actor playing Quixote, in 1969. Orson Welles continued editing the film into the early 1970s. At the time of his death, the film remained largely a collection of footage in various states of editing. The project and more importantly Welles's conception of the project changed radically over time. A version of the film was created from available fragments in 1992 and released to a very negative reception.

The Merchant of Venice[]

In 1969 Welles was given another TV commission to film a condensed adaptation of The Merchant of Venice.[56] Although Welles had actually completed the film by 1970 the finished negative was later mysteriously stolen from his Rome production office.[57]

The Other Side of the Wind[]

In 1970 Welles began shooting The Other Side of the Wind. The film relates the efforts of a film director (played by John Huston) to complete his last Hollywood picture and is largely set at a lavish party. By 1972 the filming was reported by Welles as being "96% complete",[58] though it is likely that Welles had only edited about 40 minutes of the film by 1979.[59] In that year, legal complications over the ownership of the film forced the negative into a Paris vault where it remained until 2004, when Peter Bogdanovich (who also acted in the film) announced his intention to complete the production. As of 2009, legal complications over the Welles estate have kept the film from being finished or released. Some footage is included in the documentary Working with Orson Welles (1993).

Other unfinished projects[]

  • Heart of Darkness: Welles's projected first film in 1940, planned in extreme detail and with some test shots filmed. (The footage is now lost.) It was planned to be entirely shot in long takes from the point of view of the narrator, Marlow, who would be played by Welles, seeing his own reflection in the window as his boat sailed down river. The project was abandoned because it could not be delivered on budget, and Citizen Kane was made instead.[60]
  • Mr. American: Early 1940 drafts of Citizen Kane were based far more overtly on the life of Howard Hughes than on William Randolph Hearst, and would have made for a substantially different picture.[61]
  • It's All True: Welles did not originally want to direct this 1942 documentary on South America, but after its abandonment by RKO, he spent much of the 1940s attempting to buy the negative of his material from RKO, so that he could edit and release it in some form. The footage remained unseen in vaults for decades, and was assumed lost. Over 50 years later, some (but not all) of the surviving material saw release in the 1993 documentary It's All True: Based on an Unfinished Film by Orson Welles.
  • Monsieur Verdoux: In 1944, Welles wrote the first-draft script of this film, which he also intended to direct. Charlie Chaplin initially agreed to star in it, but later changed his mind, citing never having been directed by someone else in a feature before. Chaplin bought the film rights and made the film himself in 1947, with some changes (Welles said the gallows scenes were written by Chaplin, but that much of the film was unchanged from his own script). The final film credits Chaplin with the script, "based on an idea by Orson Welles".
  • Cyrano de Bergerac: Welles spent around nine months c. 1947-8 co-writing the screenplay for this along with Ben Hecht, a project Welles was assigned to direct for Alexander Korda. He began scouting for locations in Europe whilst filming Black Magic, but Korda was short of money, so sold the rights to Columbia pictures, who eventually dismissed Welles from the project, and then sold the rights on to United Artists, who in turn made a film version in 1950, which was not based on Welles's script.[62]
  • Around the World in 80 Days: After Welles's elaborate musical stageshow of this Jules Verne novel, encompassing 38 different sets, he began shooting some test footage in Morocco for a film version in 1947. The footage was never edited, funding never came through, and Welles abandoned the project. Nine years later, the stage show's producer Mike Todd made his own award-winning film version of the book.[63]
  • Moby Dick Rehearsed: a film version of Welles's 1955 London meta-play, starring Gordon Jackson, Christopher Lee, Patrick McGoohan, and with Welles as Ahab. Using bare, minimalist sets, Welles alternated between a cast of nineteenth-century actors rehearsing a production of Moby Dick, with scenes from Moby Dick itself. Kenneth Williams, a cast member who was apprehensive about the entire project, recorded in his autobiography that Welles's dim, atmospheric stage lighting made some of the footage so dark as to be unwatchable. The entire play was filmed, but is now presumed lost. The recording was made during one weekend at the Hackney Empire theatre.[64]
  • Histoires extraordinaires: The producers of this 1968 anthology film, based on short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, announced in June 1967 that Welles would direct one segment based on both "Masque of the Red Death" and "The Cask of Amontillado" for the omnibus film. Welles withdrew in September 1967 and was replaced. The script, written in English by Welles and Oja Kodar, is in the Filmmuseum Munchen collection.[65]
  • One-Man Band: This Monty Python-esque spoof in which Welles plays all but one of the characters (including two characters in drag), was made around 1968-9. Welles intended this completed sketch to be one of several items in a television special on London. Other items filmed for this special – all included in the "One Man Band" documentary by his partner Oja Kodar – comprised a sketch on Winston Churchill (played in silhouette by Welles), a sketch on peers in a stately home, a feature on London gentlemen's clubs, and a sketch featuring Welles being mocked by his snide Savile Row tailor (played by Charles Gray).[66]
  • Treasure Island: Welles wrote two screenplays for this in the 1960s, and was eager to seek financial backing to direct it. Eventually, his own screenplay (under the pseudonym of O.W. Jeeves) was further rewritten, and formed the basis of the 1972 film version directed by John Hough, in which Welles played Long John Silver.
  • The Deep: An adaptation of Charles Williams' Dead Calm. The picture was entirely set on two boats and shot mostly in close-ups, and was filmed off the coasts of Yugoslavia and the Bahamas, between 1966 and 1969, with all but one scene completed. Originally planned as commercially viable thriller, to show that Welles could make a popular, successful film. It was put on hold in 1970 when Welles worried that critics would not respond favourably to this film as his theatrical follow-up to the much-lauded Chimes at Midnight, and Welles focused instead on F for Fake. It was abandoned altogether in 1973 due to the death of its star Laurence Harvey. The Munich Film Museum holds a restored copy, with title cards filling out the missing scene.[67]
  • Saint Jack. In 1978 Welles was lined up by his long-time protégé Peter Bogdanovich (who was then acting as Welles's de facto agent) to direct this adaptation of the 1973 Paul Theroux novel about an American pimp in Singapore. Hugh Hefner and Bogdnovich's then-partner Cybill Shepherd were both attached to the project as producers, with Hefner providing finance through his Playboy productions. However, both Hefner and Shepherd became convinced that Bogdanovich himself would be a more commercially viable director than Welles, and insisted that Bogdanovich take over. Since Bogdanovich was also in need of work after a series of box office flops, he agreed. When the film was finally made in 1979 by Bogdanovich and Hefner (but without Welles or Shepherd's participation), Welles felt betrayed and according to Bogdanovich the two "drifted apart a bit".[68]
  • Filming The Trial: After the success of his 1978 film Filming Othello made for West German television, and mostly consisting of a monologue to the camera, Welles began shooting scenes for this follow-up film, but never completed it.[69] What Welles did film was an 80 minute question-and-answer session in 1981 with film students asking about the film. The footage was kept by Welles's cinematographer Gary Graver, who donated it to the Munich Film Museum, which then pieced it together with Welles's trailer for the film, into an 83 minute film which is occasionally screened at film festivals.
  • The Big Brass Ring: A script of this project was eventually adapted and filmed by George Hickenlooper in 1999 as a play-within-a-film, about Orson Welles's production of the play. Welles's complete screenplay was one of his last projects, written in 1985.
  • King Lear: At the time of his death, Welles was in talks with a French production company to direct a film version of the Shakespeare play, in which he would also play the title role.
  • An adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's novel Ada for which Welles flew to Paris to discuss the project personally with the Russian author.


The 1996 documentary The Battle Over Citizen Kane chronicles the battle between Welles and Hearst. A 1999 HBO docudrama, RKO 281, tells the story of the making of Citizen Kane, starring Liev Schreiber as Orson Welles.

Tim Robbins's 1999 film Cradle Will Rock chronicles the process and events surrounding Welles and John Houseman's production of the 1937 musical by Marc Blitzstein. In it, Welles is played by actor Angus MacFadyen.

Playwright and actor Austin Pendleton wrote the play Orson's Shadow about Welles and his collaboration with Laurence Olivier. It deals with the time that Welles directed Laurence Olivier in a production of Eugène Ionesco's play Rhinoceros. According to this play, Welles privately disliked Olivier's film adaptations of Shakespeare's works (which were far more successful than Welles's), at one point stating that Olivier's film of Hamlet "looked like a Joan Crawford movie". Welles struggled with getting Olivier to play not merely someone lower-class (as he did in The Entertainer) but getting Olivier to play someone utterly non-descript.

Author Kim Newman has featured Orson Welles as a character in several stories from his Anno Dracula series.

In the Tim Burton-directed biopic Ed Wood (1994), Welles (played by Vincent D'Onofrio and dubbed by Maurice LaMarche) makes a brief "cameo appearance", giving advice to director Edward D. Wood, Jr. who idolises Welles. Inspired, Wood proceeds to finish his film Plan 9 from Outer Space, sometimes called one of the worst films of all time. Though Ed Wood is based on Wood's life, in reality the scene is entirely fictional: Wood never met Orson Welles. D'Onofrio would again portray Welles in the 2005 30-minute film Five Minutes Mr. Welles concerning Welles's role in the film The Third Man.

Although the character Brain from the animated series Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain was not initially modeled after Welles, Maurice LaMarche was shown a picture of Brain and tasked with finding a voice for the character. LaMarche immediately thought of Welles[70] and decided to do his Welles impersonation. LaMarche also played Welles in The Critic (where his "later work", ads for such products as 'Mrs. Pell's Fishsticks', is referenced) and in the Futurama episode "Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences", in which he performs a WOTW-like play.

One of the recurring celebrity characters on the influential Canadian sketch comedy TV show Second City Television (SCTV) was John Candy's impersonation of Welles. ON SCTV, Candy-as-Welles appeared in an embarrassing array of commercials, talk shows, and other low-budget productions. It's unknown whether or not Welles ever saw Candy's impersonation.

Me and Orson Welles, released in November 2009, stars Zac Efron as a teenager who convinces Welles (Christian McKay) to cast him in Welles's 1937 production of Julius Caesar, based on Robert Kaplow's novel.

The final segment of The Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror XVII" features a parody of Welles's 1938 War Of The Worlds radio broadcast in which, having been fooled once, the people of Springfield refuse to believe that an actual alien invasion is taking place. Welles was again voiced by Maurice LaMarche in the episode.





  • The American Film Institute ranked Citizen Kane as the greatest American movie. These other Welles films were nominated for their list: The Magnificent Ambersons (1942, director/producer/screenwriter); The Third Man (1949, actor); Touch of Evil (1958, actor/director/screenwriter); and A Man for All Seasons (1966, actor).
  • Citizen Kane was nominated for numerous prizes at the 1941 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor in a Leading Role. The only Oscar won, however, was Best Original Screenplay, which Welles shared with Herman J. Mankiewicz. Welles later gave his statuette to cinematographer Gary Garver as payment for services rendered. Also, the film The Magnificent Ambersons was nominated for Best Picture, a year later.
  • The Stranger was nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1947. Welles himself was awarded a Career Golden Lion in 1970.
  • In 1952, Welles's Othello won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
  • Welles was nominated for Best Foreign Actor in a Leading Role at the 1968 BAFTA Awards for his performance in Chimes at Midnight.
  • Welles was given the first Career Golden Lion award in the Venice Film Festival in 1970.
  • In 1970, Welles won an Honorary Academy Award for "superlative and distinguished service in the making of motion pictures."[71] In light of his poor treatment by the Academy and by the American film industry in general, Welles did not attend the ceremony.[72]
  • In 1970, he was awarded the French Légion d'honneur, the highest civilian decoration in France. Welles was also a distinguished Foreign Member of the Académie française, succeeded by Peter Ustinov.[73]
  • Welles was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Film Institute in 1975.
  • In 1978, Welles was presented with the Los Angeles Film Critics Career Achievement Award.
  • n 1979, Welles was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.
  • In 1982, Welles was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture at the Golden Globe Awards for his role in Butterfly, and won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Recording for his role on Donovan's Brain.
  • Welles was awarded a Fellowship of the British Film Institute in 1983.
  • In 1984, Welles was given the D. W. Griffith Award of the Directors Guild of America.[74]
  • In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Welles as the 16th Greatest Male Star of All Time.
  • When asked to describe Welles's influence, Jean-Luc Godard remarked: "Everyone will always owe him everything." (Ciment, 42)
  • A highly divergent genus of Hawaiian spiders "Orsonwelles" is named in his honor (Hormiga et al. 2003)
  • He won three Grammy Awards, each win in the category of Best Spoken Word Recording: in 1976, for "Great American Documents" (shared with Helen Hayes, Henry Fonda and James Earl Jones; in 1978, for the original motion picture soundtrack to Citizen Kane; and in 1981, for a recording of Donovan's Brain.
  • In 2008 a statue of Welles sculpted by Oja Kodar was erected in the town of Split, Croatia.[75]


  1. Rosenbaum, Jonathan. Discovering Orson Welles. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California: University of California Press. 2007. Pp. 6.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Little green men, meowing nuns, and head-hunting panics. McFarland. http://books.google.com/books?id=GeWm-zM3NEoC&lpg=PP1&dq=Little%20Green%20Men%2C%20Meowing%20Nuns%20and%20Head-Hunting%20Panics%3A&pg=PA219#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  3. "Touch of Evil". rogerebert.suntimes.com. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F19980913%2FREVIEWS08%2F401010367%2F1023. Retrieved December 30, 2009. 
  4. "Chimes at Midnight :: rogerebert.com :: Great Movies". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. June 4, 2006. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F20060604%2FREVIEWS08%2F606040301%2F1023. Retrieved December 30, 2009. 
  5. Eder, Bruce. "Orson Welles > Filmography – Allmovie". Allmovie. Allmovie.com. Accessed May 28, 2010.
  6. "Sight & Sound |Top Ten Poll 2002 – The Directors' Top Ten Directors". BFI. September 5, 2006. http://www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/topten/poll/directors-directors.html. Retrieved December 30, 2009. 
  7. "Sight & Sound |Top Ten Poll 2002 – The Critics' Top Ten Directors". BFI. September 5, 2006. http://www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/topten/poll/critics-directors.html. Retrieved December 30, 2009. 
  8. "TSPDT – The 1,000 Greatest Films: The Top 200 Directors". They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? Theyshootpictures.com. January 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
  9. Christey, Jaime N. "Orson Welles: An Incomplete Education". Senses of Cinema. Sensesofcinema.com. Accessed May 3, 2010.
  10. WC.rootsweb.ancestry.com
  11. "TCM biography". TCM. http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/participant.jsp?spid=203979&apid=119503. Retrieved February 19, 2010. 
  12. Heyer, Paul (2005). The medium and the magician: Orson Welles, the radio years, 1934–1952. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 3–5. ISBN 0742537978. 
  13. {{cite Northwest Herald July 10, 1987
  14. Mosel, "Leading Lady: The World and Theatre of Katharine Cornell
  15. "Macbeth (June 10, 1999). Library of Congress, American Memory. Retrieved on August 25, 2009
  16. Callow, Simon (1995). Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu. Penguin. p. 145. ISBN 0-670-86722-5. 
  17. We Work Again (1937)
  18. Aaron Copland
  19. Leaming, Barbara (1985). Orson Welles. New York: Viking Penguin Inc. pp. 114. ISBN 0-670-52895-1. 
  20. Campbell, W. Joseph (2010). Getting It Wrong: Ten of the Greatest Misreported Stories in American Journalism. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0520262096. 
  21. "The spoof in Georgia: Evocative of the ‘War of the Worlds?". wordpress.com. http://mediamythalert.wordpress.com/tag/war-of-the-worlds/. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 
  22. "evidence of the decadence and corrupt condition of democracy"—Hand, Richard J. (2006). Terror on the Air!: Horror Radio in America, 1931–1952. Jefferson, North Carolina: Macfarlane & Company. p. 7. ISBN 0-786-42367-6. 
  23. "Learn Out Loud". Learn Out Loud. http://www.learnoutloud.com/Catalog/Literature/-/The-Mercury-Theatre-on-the-Air/16905. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 "Orson Welles", Authors and Artists for Young Adults 40 (2001)
  25. This is Orson Welles, Chapter 2 : Guaymas, Page 54, Da Capo Press, 1998 Edition)
  26. Movies.nytimes.com, New York Times, May 2, 1941.
  27. Barnett, Vincent L. "Cutting Koerners: Floyd Odlum, the Atlas Corporation and the Dismissal of Orson Welles from RKO". Film History: An International Journal, Volume 22, Number 2, 2010, pp.182–198.
  28. "Welles BBC interview". Wellesnet.com. http://www.wellesnet.com/trial%20bbc%20interview.htm. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  29. This is Orson Welles — Google Books. Da Capo Press. 1998. http://books.google.com/books?id=epjeuX_xZkQC&pg=PA532&lpg=PA532&dq=Who+dubbed+Welles+in+RoGoPag%3F&source=bl&ots=biRrtVSFyp&sig=8t5vBub7Non_dZt2aURg-62Yhiw&hl=en&ei=zfJASqv3I5i0Nbff7MoI&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3. Retrieved December 30, 2009. 
  30. Interview with Orson Welles, BBC Arena, 1982.
  31. Kleiner, Dick, Oakland Tribune, December 30, 1976; Lochte, Dick, "TV finally tunes in Nero Wolfe," Los Angeles Times, January 30, 1977; Smith, Liz, The Baltimore Sun, March 14, 1977
  32. Kleiner, Dick, Oakland Tribune, December 30, 1976
  33. Gilroy, Frank D., I Wake Up Screening. Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press, 1993, ISBN 0809318563 p. 147
  34. Boyer, Peter J., "NBC Fall Schedule," Associated Press, March 24, 1980
  35. Beck, Marilyn, Marilyn Beck's Hollywood, Milwaukee Journal (Chicago Tribune New York News Syndicate), November 24, 1980. The Nero Wolfe Files (Wildside Press 2005, edited by Marvin Kaye), ISBN 0809544946 pp. 87–88. Columnist Marilyn Beck reported that NBC's Nero Wolfe series was planned as a starring vehicle for Welles until he decided that he wanted NBC to change the concept from a one-hour weekly series to a series of 90-minute specials, and that he wanted his scenes filmed at his Los Angeles home. Some 20 years later, the executive producer of the A&E Nero Wolfe series, Michael Jaffe, said Welles had refused to work with Paramount Television producers, who wanted to "make Nero Wolfe more human."
  36. Lochte, Dick, "TV finally tunes in Nero Wolfe," Los Angeles Times, January 30, 1977; discussed by Lochte, March 8, 2000. Lochte interviewed Rex Stout May 27, 1967; McAleer, John, Rex Stout: A Biography, pp. 479–480
  37. "People in the News," Associated Press, October 26, 1982. Paul Masson's spokesman since 1979, Welles parted company with Paul Masson in 1981, and in 1982 he was replaced by John Gielgud.
  38. Bronson, Gail, "In Advertising, Big Names Mean Big Money." U.S. News & World Report, July 4, 1983
  39. Orson Welles' other works at the Internet Movie Database. The "probably" tag is still in use today.
  40. Salmans, Sandra, "Many Stars are Playing Pitchmen — With No Regrets." The New York Times, May 3, 1981
  41. Biography for Orson Welles at the Internet Movie Database
  42. Magnum, P.I., episode "Paper War", 1986
  43. Ramón, David (1997). Dolores del Río. Clío. pp. 56–61,. ISBN 968-6932-35-6. 
  44. Hedda Hopper, "Rita Hayworth Again Leaves Orson Welles", Los Angeles Times, March 13, 1947.
  45. The Merv Griffin Show, October 10, 1985
  46. Simon Callow, Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu
  47. Chris Woodford. "Orson Welles and obesity: A rather fat ghandi:Template:Sic Explain that Stuff!". Explain that Stuff!<!. http://www.explainthatstuff.com/obesity.html. Retrieved December 30, 2009. 
  48. "Peter Conrad on Orson Welles | Film |". The Guardian (London: Arts.guardian.co.uk). August 29, 2003. http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2003/aug/29/4. Retrieved December 30, 2009. 
  49. Brady, Frank (1989). Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles. Scribner. p. 576. ISBN 0-684-18982-8. 
  50. The Battle Over Citizen Kane documentary, 1996, written and produced by Thomas Lennon, Richard Ben Cramer and Michael Epstein.
  51. McBride, Joseph (2006). What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?: A Portrait of an Independent Career. University Press of Kentucky. p. 105. ISBN 0-813-12410-7. 
  52. McBride, Joseph (2006). What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?: A Portrait of an Independent Career. University Press of Kentucky. p. 145. ISBN 0-813-12410-7. 
  53. "I try to Be a Christian" Christianity Today. Published 5/19/2009.
  54. McBride, Joseph (2006). What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?: A Portrait of an Independent Career. University Press of Kentucky. p. 223. ISBN 0-813-12410-7. 
  55. Botham, Noel (2006). The Book of Useless Information: An Official Publication of the Useless Information Society. Perigee. p. 25. ISBN 0-399-53269-2. 
  56. Estrin, Mark W. (2002). Orson Welles: interviews. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. XXXIV. ISBN 9781578062096. 
  57. McBride, Joseph (2006). What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?: A Portrait of an Independent Career. University Press of Kentucky. p. 234. ISBN 0-813-12410-7. 
  58. Brady, Frank (1989). Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles. Scribner. p. 546. ISBN 0-684-18982-8. 
  59. Rosenbaum, Jonathan (2007). Discovering Orson Welles. University of California Press. p. 320. ISBN 978-0520251236. 
  60. Peter Bogdanovich and Orson Welles, This is Orson Welles (New York, 1992, revised 1997 edition) pp.30–3, 355–8
  61. Welles described this in his documentary-essay film F for Fake
  62. Peter Bogdanovich and Orson Welles, This is Orson Welles (New York, 1992, revised 1997 edition) pp.106–8
  63. Peter Bogdanovich and Orson Welles, This is Orson Welles (New York, 1992, revised 1997 edition) p.402
  64. See also the relevant entries for 'Moby Dick' in Kenneth Williams' autobiography Just Williams
  65. Cinefantastique (August 30, 2009)
  66. "Orson Welles: The One-Man Band". IMDB. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117262/. Retrieved October 5, 2009. 
  67. Peter Bogdanovich and Orson Welles, This is Orson Welles (New York, 1992, revised 1997 edition) pp.213–4
  68. Peter Bogdanovich and Orson Welles, This is Orson Welles (New York, 1992, revised 1997 edition) pp.xxi-xxii
  69. McBride, Joseph (2006). What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?: A Portrait of an Independent Career. University Press of Kentucky. p. 253. ISBN 0-813-12410-7. 
  70. Interview with Quick Stop Entertainment (5th question)
  71. Verswijver, Leo (2003). "Movies Were Always Magical": Interviews with 19 Actors, Directors, and Producers from the Hollywood of the 1930s Through the 1950s. McFarland. p. 89. ISBN 0-786-41129-5. 
  72. Leaming, Barbara (1995). Orson Welles: A Biography. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 511. ISBN 0-879-10199-7. 
  73. Ezard, John (March 30, 2004). "Obituary: Sir Peter Ustinov". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2004/mar/30/broadcasting.artsobituaries. Retrieved December 30, 2009. 
  74. "Orson Welles — Films as actor:, Films as narrator:, Films as director:". Filmreference.com. http://www.filmreference.com/Actors-and-Actresses-Va-Wi/Welles-Orson.html. Retrieved December 30, 2009. 
  75. Ivo Scepanovic. "Orson Welles becomes "Citizen of Split"". SETimes. http://www.setimes.com/cocoon/setimes/xhtml/en_GB/features/setimes/features/2008/01/17/feature-03. 


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External links[]