Orson Welles

The boy genius, born in Kinosha, Wisconsin, in 1915

Welles (or his brother) with mother Beatrice Ives in the 1920s

Welles' first WPA Federal Theatre Project: Macbeth, 1935. Welles is 20.

Opening night crowd in Harlem for Welles' Macbeth

The WPA production that was a little too radical for some: The Cradle Will Rock, 1937

Publicity photo of Orson Welles as the popular "Shadow" 1937-38

The first Mercury Theatre production, the minimalist, Nazi-inspired Julius Ceasar, 1937

Welles as the title character in Julius Caesar

The boy genius at age 22, producing, directing, and starring in Julius Ceasar.
The pipe made him look older.

Lighting design for Julius Caesar, inspired by the Nurenburg
sequence in Triumph of the Will (1935)

One of the massive set-pieces from Triumph of the Will (Leni Riefenstahl, 1935)

Poster for Triumph of the Will, the Nazi masterpiece

Riefenstahl on location for Triumph of the Will

Two or three radio programs a night: Welles in the late 1930s

In the studio with The Mercury Theatre of the Air, 1938

In the studio with The Mercury Theatre of the Air, 1938.
Welles conducts the actors and the peerless Bernard Herrmann handles the musicians.

Mercury Theatre of the Air: War of the Worlds, Halloween 1938

Newspaper the day after War of the Worlds broadcast

Welles and the famous contract, July 1939

The financially troubled RKO studio as it looked in the late 30s

The beloved RKO Radio Picture logo

Welles on the newspaper set in Citizen Kane

Welles in one of the holes cut in the studio floor to enable the
extreme low-angle shots of cinematographer Gregg Toland

Orson Welles and Gregg Toland on the set of Citizen Kane

Shooting one of the opera sequences in Citizen Kane

William Randolph Hearst

Yellow news from the New York Journal in 1898: helping to begin the Spanish-American war

The Hearst Empire now

Publicity still of Marion Davies, Hearst's longtime mistress

San Simeon today: a California park

The massive pool at San Simeon

Another view of San Simeon, the real-life Xanadu

Herman J. Mankiewicz: he betrayed Hearst and won an Oscar

Welles arriving at a NYC showing of Kane

The Magnificent Ambersons, Welles' butchered masterpiece, 1942

Welles becomes a movie star: Jane Eyre (1943)

Romantic and brooding: Welles is Rochester

Rita Hayworth pinup, mid 40s

Rita Hayworth in her most famous role as Gilda, a film noir from 1946

Welles in Lady from Shanghai, another film noir from 1947

Welles cuts her hair and makes her a blonde: Rita Hayworth in Lady from Shanghai

Welles' B-movie budget version of Macbeth (1948); the Scotish accents
were too heavy for the producers, who dubbed themselves a new soundtrack.

Welles as Macbeth

Welles as Harry Lime in the classic The Third Man (1949),
the same year he appeared in Prince of Foxes, Black Magic, and The Black Rose.

1951: Welles' film of Othello

Welles with Suzanne Cloutier at the climax of Othello

French poster for the noir masterpiece Touch of Evil (1958)

Welles as the corpulent and evil Sheriff Quinlan in Touch of Evil

Welles in Crack in the Mirror (1960)

1968: the last masterpiece, Chimes at Midnight

Welles as Falstaff in Chimes at Midnight

One of the many ads Welles appeared in to finance his films

The ubiquitous voice: the Paul Masson ad

TV news reactions to Welles' death in 1985

Orson Welles 1915-1985