Image of Orson Welles

Orson Welles

George Orson Welles (May 6, 1915 – 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." 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's 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. In 2002, he was voted the greatest film director of all time in two separate British Film Institute polls among directors and critics, and a wide survey of critical consensus, best-of lists, and historical retrospectives calls him the most acclaimed director of all time. Well known for his baritone voice, 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.

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May 6, 1915 In Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie A Horse Called Nijinsky
Latest Project:
Movie The Other Side of the Wind 2018-11-02
Known For
Poster of A Woman Called Moses
Poster of Nella terra di Don Chisciotte
Poster of Around the World with Orson Welles
Poster of Orson Welles' Sketchbook
Movie A Horse Called Nijinsky Narrator 2020
Movie The Eyes of Orson Welles Himself (archive footage) 2018-08-17
Movie They'll Love Me When I'm Dead Himself (archive footage) 2018-08-31
Movie The Other Side of the Wind Journalist (voice) 2018-11-02
Movie The Merchant of Venice Shylock 2015-09-01
Movie This Is Orson Welles Himself 2015-05-21
Movie Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles Himself / Various Roles (archive footage) 2014-12-12
Series Talking Pictures Himself - Archive footage 2013-01-05
Movie Filmmakers vs. Tycoons Himself (archive footage) 2005-07-17
Movie The Well 2005-03-11
Movie Rita 2003-09-09
Movie Modern Art - A Complete Guide Narrator 2003-10-27
Movie Lost in La Mancha Himself (archive footage) 2002-02-11
Movie A Huey P. Newton Story 2001-06-18
Movie NASA: A Space Odyssey Vol. 3 Narrator 2001-01-01
Movie Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces Himself (archive footage) 2000-10-23
Movie L'affaire Dominici par Orson Welles Himself (archive footage) 2000-01-01
Movie Moby Dick Captain Ahab / Starbuck / Ishmael (archive footage) 2000-05-01
Movie Tudo é Brasil Himself (archive footage) 1997-09-18
Movie The Battle Over Citizen Kane Himself (archive footage) 1996-01-29
Movie Orson Welles: The One-Man Band Himself (archive footage) 1995-10-08
Movie A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies Himself 1995-05-21
Movie Working with Orson Welles Himself (Archive Footage) 1993-01-01
Movie It's All True Himself 1993-10-17
Movie La classe américaine Himself (Archive Footage) 1993-12-30
Movie Don Quixote Himself 1992-01-01
Movie With Orson Welles: Stories from a Life in Film Himself(archive footage) 1990-02-05
Movie Rita Hayworth: Dancing Into the Dream 1990-01-01
Movie Someone to Love Himself 1988-04-21
Movie The Transformers: The Movie Unicron (voice) 1986-08-08
Movie Orson Welles' Magic Show Himself 1985-01-24
Series Moonlighting Unknown 1985-03-03
Series Scene of the Crime (US) 1985-04-14
Movie Where Is Parsifal? 1985-07-19
Movie The Spirit of Charles Lindbergh himself 1984-01-01
Movie The Road to Bresson Himself 1984-01-31
Movie The Last Sailors: The Final Days of Working Sail Narrator 1984-05-09
Movie Hot Money 1983-01-01
Movie The Greatest Adventure--The Story of Man's Voyage to the Moon Narrator 1983-01-02
Movie The Dreamers Marcus Kleek 1982-12-31
Movie The Quest for Fire Adventure Narrator 1982-01-01
Movie Orson Welles' The Dreamers 1982-01-01
Movie Slapstick (Of Another Kind) Aliens' Father (voice) 1982-12-09
Movie Butterfly Judge Rauch 1982-02-05
Movie The Man Who Saw Tomorrow Presenter / Narrator 1981-01-09
Movie The Enchanted Journey Pippo 1981-10-10
Movie Filming 'The Trial' Himself 1981-02-01
Movie History of the World: Part I Narrator 1981-06-12
Movie The Greenstone Narrator (voice) 1980-01-01
Movie A Step Away English Narrator 1980-01-02
Series Shogun Narrator 1980-09-15
Movie The Secret of Nikola Tesla J.P. Morgan 1980-09-12
Series Magnum, P.I. Unknown 1980-12-11
Movie The Orson Welles Show Himself 1979-01-01
Movie The Late, Great Planet Earth Himself 1979-01-01
Movie Soft Self-Portrait of Salvador Dali Narrator 1979-12-29
Movie The Muppet Movie Lew Lord 1979-05-31
Movie Tut: The Boy King Himself - Host 1978-01-01
Movie The Force Beyond Himself (archive footage) 1978-01-01
Movie Mysterious Castles of Clay Narrator 1978-01-01
Movie Filming Othello Host 1978-07-10
Series A Woman Called Moses Narrator 1978-12-11
Movie The Biggest Battle Narratore 1978-02-07
Movie The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Narrator 1977-01-01
Movie From Fiber to Fabric: Wool's a Natural Narrator 1977-01-01
Movie It Happened One Christmas Henry F. Potter 1977-12-11
Movie Hot Tomorrows Parklawn Mortuary (voice) 1977-04-01
Movie F for Fake Trailer 1976-01-01
Movie Voyage of the Damned José Estedes 1976-12-22
Movie Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Narrator / Nag / Chuchundra (voice) 1975-01-09
Movie F for Fake Himself 1975-03-12
Movie Who's Out There? Host 1975-01-01
Movie Bugs Bunny: Superstar Narrator (voice) 1975-12-19
Movie Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? (archive footage) 1975-08-06
Movie AFI Tribute to Orson Welles Himself 1975-06-10
Movie Ten Little Indians Voice on Tape 1974-09-24
Series The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts Unknown 1974-10-31
Series Orson Welles' Great Mysteries 1973-09-01
Movie Future Shock Narrator 1972-02-22
Movie Get to Know Your Rabbit Mr. Delasandro 1972-06-01
Movie Necromancy Mr. Cato 1972-09-22
Movie Don Quixote Don Quixote / Sancho Panza (voice) 1972-12-31
Movie Treasure Island Long John Silver 1972-10-01
Movie Freedom River Narrator 1971-01-01
Movie Malpertuis Cassavius 1971-01-01
Movie The Wings of Man Narrator (voice) 1971-01-01
Movie Flames of Persia Narrator 1971-01-02
Movie Directed by John Ford Narrator (voice) 1971-10-06
Movie London Winston Churchill / George Bernard Shaw 1971-12-31
Movie Sentinels of Silence 1971-05-01
Movie Ten Days Wonder Théo Van Horn 1971-12-01
Series V.I.P. Schaukel Unknown 1971-05-09
Movie A Safe Place The Magician 1971-10-01
Movie Catch-22 Brigadier General Dreedle 1970-06-24
Movie The Kremlin Letter Bresnavitch 1970-02-01
Movie The Deep 1970-07-07
Movie Upon This Rock Michelangelo (voice) 1970-01-01
Movie The Golden Honeymoon 1970-12-31
Movie Start the Revolution Without Me The Narrator 1970-08-14
Series Night Gallery Unknown 1970-12-16
Movie Is It Always Right to Be Right? Narrator 1970-10-31
Movie Waterloo Louis XVIII 1970-10-26
Movie Tepepa Colonel Cascorro 1969-01-31
Movie The Fight for Rome II - The Betrayal Justinian 1969-02-21
Movie To Build a Fire Narrator (voice) 1969-01-01
Movie The Southern Star Plankett 1969-03-04
Movie Twelve Plus One Markan 1969-10-06
Movie The Battle of Neretva Četnik 1969-10-07
Movie Vienna Himself 1968-01-01
Movie Portrait: Orson Welles Interviewee 1968-01-01
Series Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In Unknown 1968-01-22
Movie The Immortal Story Charles Clay 1968-06-01
Movie The Fight for Rome Justinian 1968-12-17
Movie House of Cards Leschenhaut 1968-09-16
Movie Oedipus the King Tiresias 1968-06-01
Movie The Sailor from Gibraltar 1967-01-01
Movie Ten Days That Shook the World Narrator 1967-01-01
Movie Casino Royale Le Chiffre 1967-04-13
Movie Chimes at Midnight Falstaff 1967-03-16
Movie I'll Never Forget What's'isname Jonathan Lute 1967-12-18
Movie Orson Welles in Spain Himself 1966-06-01
Movie A Man for All Seasons Cardinal Wolsey 1966-12-12
Movie Is Paris Burning? Konsul Nordling 1966-10-26
Movie Marco the Magnificent Akerman 1965-08-06
Movie A King's Story Narrator 1965-01-01
Series Nella terra di Don Chisciotte Himself 1964-01-01
Movie The Odyssey of Rita Hayworth Himself (archive footage) 1964-04-13
Movie The Finest Hours Narrator (voice) 1964-09-29
Movie The V.I.P.s Max Buda 1963-05-01
Movie Ro.Go.Pa.G. The 'Director' (segment "La ricotta") 1963-02-19
Movie Lafayette Benjamin Franklin 1962-02-14
Movie The Trial Albert Hastler 1962-12-21
Movie King of Kings Narrator (Voice) 1961-10-11
Movie The Tartars Burundai 1961-08-18
Movie Crack in the Mirror Hagolin / Lamerciere 1960-05-19
Movie David and Goliath Re Saul 1960-01-22
Movie Compulsion Jonathan Wilk 1959-04-01
Movie Ferry to Hong Kong Captain Hart 1959-10-29
Movie Touch of Evil Police Captain Hank Quinlan 1958-04-23
Movie The Long, Hot Summer Will Varner 1958-04-03
Movie The Vikings Narrator (voice) (uncredited) 1958-06-28
Movie The Fountain of Youth the narrator 1958-09-16
Movie The Roots of Heaven Cy Sedgewick 1958-10-15
Movie Man in the Shadow Virgil Renchler 1957-11-01
Series The Steve Allen Show Unknown 1956-06-24
Movie Moby Dick Father Mapple 1956-06-27
Movie Napoleon Sir Hudson Lowe 1955-01-01
Movie Moby Dick Rehearsed An Actor Manager / Father Mapple / Ahab 1955-01-01
Movie Three Cases of Murder Lord Mountdrago ("Lord Mountdrago" segment) 1955-03-15
Movie Mr. Arkadin Gregory Arkadin 1955-03-01
Series Orson Welles' Sketchbook Himself - Host 1955-04-24
Movie The Land of the Basques Narrator 1955-10-07
Series Around the World with Orson Welles Host: Orson Welles 1955-10-07
Movie Orson Welles' Sketch Book Himself/host 1955-04-24
Movie Trouble in the Glen Sanin Cejador y Mengues 1954-06-15
Movie Royal Affairs in Versailles Benjamin Franklin 1954-11-11
Movie King Lear King Lear 1953-10-18
Movie Return to Glennascaul: A Story That Is Told in Dublin Narrator 1953-02-01
Movie Man, Beast, and Virtue Captain Perella, the Beast 1952-01-01
Movie Trent's Last Case Sigsbee Manderson 1952-09-22
Series Omnibus King Lear 1952-11-09
Series I Love Lucy Unknown 1951-10-15
Movie Othello Othello 1951-11-27
Series Hallmark Hall of Fame Unknown 1951-12-24
Movie The Third Man Harry Lime 1950-02-02
Movie The Black Rose Bayan 1950-09-01
Movie Disorder Himself 1949-01-01
Movie Black Magic Joseph Balsamo aka Count Cagliostro 1949-08-19
Movie Prince of Foxes Cesare Borgia 1949-11-11
Series The Ed Sullivan Show Unknown 1948-06-20
Movie Macbeth Macbeth 1948-10-01
Movie The Lady from Shanghai Michael O'Hara 1947-12-24
Movie Tomorrow Is Forever John Andrew MacDonald 1946-02-20
Movie The Stranger Charles Rankin 1946-05-25
Movie Duel in the Sun Narrator (voice) (uncredited) 1946-12-31
Movie Follow the Boys Orson Welles 1944-05-05
Movie Jane Eyre Edward Rochester 1944-04-07
Movie Show-Business at War Himself 1943-05-21
Movie Journey Into Fear Colonel Haki 1943-02-11
Movie The Magnificent Ambersons Narrator (voice) 1942-07-10
Movie Citizen Kane Charles Foster Kane 1941-04-30
Movie Swiss Family Robinson Opening Narrator 1940-02-08
Movie The Green Goddess Rajah / Narrator 1939-06-06
Movie Too Much Johnson Keystone Kop 1938-05-11
Movie The Spanish Earth Narrator (voice) 1937-07-10
Movie The Hearts of Age Death 1934-01-01