Orson Welles

1937 portrait by [[Carl Van Vechten]] George Orson Welles (May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985) was an American director, actor, writer, producer, and magician who is remembered for his innovative work in film, radio, and theatre. He is considered to be among the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time.

At age 21, Welles was directing high-profile stage productions for the Federal Theatre Project in New York City—starting with a celebrated 1936 adaptation of ''Macbeth'' with an African-American cast, and ending with the controversial labor opera ''The Cradle Will Rock'' in 1937. He and John Houseman then founded the Mercury Theatre, an independent repertory theatre company that presented a series of productions on Broadway through 1941, including a modern, politically charged ''Caesar'' (1937). In 1938, his radio anthology series ''The Mercury Theatre on the Air'' gave Welles the platform to find international fame as the director and narrator of a radio adaptation of H. G. Wells's novel ''The War of the Worlds'', which caused some listeners to believe that a Martian invasion was in fact occurring. The event rocketed 23-year-old Welles to notoriety.

His first film was ''Citizen Kane'' (1941), which he co-wrote, produced, directed, and starred in as the title character, Charles Foster Kane. It has been consistently ranked as one of the greatest films ever made. He directed twelve other features, the most acclaimed of which include ''The Magnificent Ambersons'' (1942), ''The Stranger'' (1946), ''The Lady from Shanghai'' (1947), ''Touch of Evil'' (1958), ''The Trial'' (1962), ''Chimes at Midnight'' (1966), and ''F for Fake'' (1973). Welles also had roles in other directors' films, notably Rochester in ''Jane Eyre'' (1943), Harry Lime in ''The Third Man'' (1949), and Cardinal Wolsey in ''A Man for All Seasons'' (1966).

His distinctive directorial style featured layered and nonlinear narrative forms, dramatic lighting, unusual camera angles, sound techniques borrowed from radio, deep focus shots and long takes. He has been praised as "the ultimate . Welles was an outsider to the studio system and struggled for creative control on his projects early on with the major film studios in Hollywood and later in life with a variety of independent financiers across Europe, where he spent most of his career. Many of his films were either heavily edited or remained unreleased.

Welles received an Academy Award and three Grammy Awards among other numerous honors such as the Academy Honorary Award in 1970, the Golden Lion in 1970, the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1975, and the British Film Institute Fellowship in 1983. In 2002, he was voted the greatest film director of all time in two British Film Institute polls among directors and critics. In 2018, he was included in the list of the 50 greatest Hollywood actors of all time by ''The Daily Telegraph''.

Welles had three marriages, including one with Rita Hayworth, and three children.

Micheál Mac Liammóir, who worked with the 16-year-old Welles on the stage in Dublin and later played Iago in his film '' Othello'', wrote that "Orson's courage, like everything else about him, imagination, egotism, generosity, ruthlessness, forbearance, impatience, sensitivity, grossness and vision is magnificently out of proportion." Provided by Wikipedia

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