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 Something Else
Latest Project:
Series The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts 2022
Known For
Poster of The Transformers: The Movie
Poster of One Man Band
Poster of Casino Royale
Poster of The Vikings
Movie Something Else 2022
Movie Charmed Lives: A Family Romance Self (archive footage) 2022
Series The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts Unknown 2022
Movie Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind 2020-01-27
Movie Hopper/Welles Self 2020-09-09
Movie The Masque of the Red Death Rich guy #1 2020-05-09
Movie The Welles Raft Himself (Archive Footage) 2019-10-17
Movie The Eyes of Orson Welles Himself (archive footage) 2018-08-17
Movie Jeanne Moreau: Free Spirit Self - Filmmaker (archive footage) 2018-04-02
Movie They'll Love Me When I'm Dead Himself (archive footage) 2018-08-31
Movie The Great Buster: A Celebration Self 2018-10-05
Movie A Final Cut for Orson: 40 Years in the Making Self - Director 2018-09-01
Movie The Other Side of the Wind Journalist (voice) 2018-11-02
Movie Friedkin Uncut Self 2018-11-05
Movie The Magic History of Cinema Unknown 2017-08-30
Movie Embers & Dust Professor Richard Pierson / Self 2016-11-16
Movie Mikhail Bondarev: Heck of a Great Man Self / Professor Charles Rankin (archive footage) 2015-10-23
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 Too Much Johnson Keystone Kop 2013-10-09
Movie Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff Genghis Khan / Bayan (archive footage) 2010-05-05
Movie Orson Welles: The Paris Interview Himself 2010-04-01
Movie The Deep Russ Brewer 2007-07-08
Movie Filmmakers vs. Tycoons Himself (archive footage) 2005-07-17
Movie The Well 2005-03-11
Movie The Other Side of Welles Himself (archive footage) 2005-06-03
Movie The Hitch Hiker Ronald Adams 2004-08-11
Movie Rita (archive footage) 2003-09-09
Movie Lost in La Mancha Himself (archive footage) 2002-02-11
Movie A Huey P. Newton Story Unknown 2001-06-18
Movie NASA: A Space Odyssey Vol. 3 Narrator 2001-01-01
Movie Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces Himself (archive footage) 2000-10-24
Movie Moby Dick Captain Ahab / Starbuck / Ishmael (archive footage) 2000-05-01
Movie The Best of the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts Unknown 1998-01-01
Movie Tudo é Brasil Himself (archive footage) 1997-09-18
Movie The Battle Over Citizen Kane Himself (archive footage) 1995-12-31
Movie A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies Himself 1995-05-21
Movie Orson Welles: The One-Man Band Himself (archive footage) 1995-10-08
Movie Working with Orson Welles Himself (Archive Footage) 1993-01-01
Movie Rosabella - La storia italiana di Orson Welles Unknown 1993-09-08
Movie La Classe américaine Self (archive footage) 1993-12-31
Movie It's All True Himself 1993-10-17
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 Unknown 1990-01-01
Movie Someone to Love Himself 1987-09-11
Movie The Transformers: The Movie Unicron (voice) 1986-08-08
Movie It's Not All True Himself (archive footage) 1986-08-22
Movie Orson Welles' Magic Show Himself 1985-01-24
Series Moonlighting Unknown 1985-03-03
Series Scene of the Crime 1985-04-14
Movie Almonds and Raisins Narrator 1985-08-09
Movie The Spirit of Charles Lindbergh himself 1984-01-01
Movie Where Is Parsifal? Klingsor 1984-01-01
Movie The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast: Michael Landon 1984-12-07
Movie The Road to Bresson Himself 1984-01-31
Movie The Last Sailors: The Final Days of Working Sail Narrator 1984-05-09
Movie In Our Hands Himself 1984-02-16
Movie Orson Welles in the french Cinematheque Himself 1983-01-01
Movie The Greatest Adventure--The Story of Man's Voyage to the Moon Narrator 1983-01-02
Movie Hot Money Sheriff Paisley 1983-01-01
Movie AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to John Huston Self 1983-03-23
Movie The Psychic Connection Narrator 1983-08-18
Movie King Penguin: Stranded Beyond the Falklands Self - Narrator 1983-06-22
Movie World of Magic Self - Special Guest 1982-02-14
Movie Butterfly Judge Rauch 1982-02-05
Movie Night of 100 Stars Self 1982-03-08
Movie The Quest for Fire Adventure Narrator 1982-01-01
Movie Let Poland Be Poland Unknown 1982-01-31
Movie Natalie - A Tribute to a Very Special Lady Self 1982-08-16
Movie Wagner e Venezia Richard Wagner (voice) 1982-12-03
Movie Genocide Narrator (voice) 1982-03-14
Movie Slapstick (Of Another Kind) Aliens' Father (voice) 1982-12-09
Movie Arena: The Orson Welles Story Himself 1982-05-17
Movie Baryshnikov in Hollywood Self - Narrator 1982-04-21
Movie The Man Who Saw Tomorrow Presenter / Narrator 1981-01-09
Movie Brasil Self (archive footage) 1981-01-01
Movie Filming 'The Trial' Himself 1981-02-01
Movie History of the World: Part I Narrator 1981-06-12
Movie A Gift of Harvest Narrator 1981-12-10
Series Tales of the Klondike Narrator 1981-05-16
Movie Search for the Titanic Himself (host) 1981-12-03
Movie The Enchanted Journey Pippo 1981-10-10
Movie The Secret of Nikola Tesla J.P. Morgan 1980-02-19
Movie The Greenstone Narrator (voice) 1980-01-01
Movie A Step Away English Narrator 1980-01-02
Movie Shogun Narrator 1980-09-15
Series Shogun Narrator 1980-09-15
Series Magnum, P.I. Unknown 1980-12-11
Movie Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park Narrator 1980-12-10
Movie The Muppet Movie Lew Lord 1979-05-31
Movie The Late, Great Planet Earth Himself 1979-01-01
Movie The Orson Welles Show Himself 1979-01-01
Movie The Double McGuffin Narrator 1979-06-01
Movie To Try Again... and Succeed Narrator (voice) 1979-12-04
Movie The New Media Bible: Book of Genesis Narrator 1979-12-17
Movie Soft Self-Portrait of Salvador Dali Narrator 1979-12-29
Movie Frank Sinatra: The First 40 Years 1979-12-13
Movie Unsung Heroes Unknown 1978-01-01
Movie The Force Beyond Himself (archive footage) 1978-01-01
Movie Caesar's Guide to Gaming with Orson Welles Himself 1978-01-01
Movie Tut: The Boy King Himself - Host 1978-01-01
Series A Woman Called Moses Narrator 1978-12-11
Movie Mysterious Castles of Clay Narrator 1978-01-01
Movie Filming Othello Host 1978-07-10
Movie The Biggest Battle Narratore 1978-02-07
Movie From Fiber to Fabric: Wool's a Natural Narrator 1977-01-01
Movie The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Narrator 1977-01-01
Movie Hot Tomorrows Parklawn Mortuary (voice) 1977-04-01
Movie It Happened One Christmas Henry F. Potter 1977-12-11
Movie The Lions of Capitalism: Some Call It Greed Narrator 1977-12-03
Movie The New Deal for Artists Narrator (voice) 1976-09-08
Movie NBC: The First Fifty Years Self / Narrator 1976-11-21
Movie Voyage of the Damned José Estedes 1976-12-22
Movie Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Narrator / Nag / Chuchundra (voice) 1975-01-09
Movie Who's Out There? Host 1975-01-01
Movie Magnificent Monsters of the Deep Narrator 1975-04-27
Movie Bugs Bunny: Superstar Narrator (voice) 1975-12-19
Movie Orson Welles - The Marketed Genius Self 1975-05-11
Movie Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? (archive footage) 1975-08-06
Movie AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Orson Welles Himself 1975-06-10
Movie And Then There Were None Voice on Tape 1974-09-24
Movie A Legend a Lifetime: Citizen Welles 1974-12-01
Movie The Challenge... A Tribute to Modern Art Narrator 1974-12-05
Movie F for Fake Trailer 1973-01-01
Movie The Cave Narrator 1973-01-01
Movie The Battle of Sutjeska Winston Churchill 1973-07-31
Movie Kelly Country Narrator 1973-10-01
Movie F for Fake Himself 1973-09-01
Movie Power and Corruption Himself 1973-12-01
Series Orson Welles' Great Mysteries 1973-09-01
Movie Vive le cinema! 1972-01-01
Movie Future Shock Narrator 1972-02-22
Movie Treasure Island Long John Silver 1972-10-01
Movie The Man Who Came to Dinner Sheridan Whiteside 1972-11-29
Movie Get to Know Your Rabbit Mr. Delasandro 1972-06-01
Movie Necromancy Mr. Cato 1972-09-22
Movie Flames of Persia Narrator 1971-01-02
Movie Malpertuis Cassavius 1971-01-01
Movie Freedom River Narrator 1971-01-01
Series V.I.P. Schaukel Unknown 1971-05-09
Movie Sentinels of Silence 1971-05-01
Movie London Winston Churchill / George Bernard Shaw 1971-12-31
Movie Directed by John Ford Narrator (voice) 1971-10-06
Movie Ten Days Wonder Théo Van Horn 1971-12-01
Movie A Safe Place The Magician 1971-10-01
Series The Silent Years Unknown 1971-07-01
Movie Catch-22 Brigadier General Dreedle 1970-06-24
Movie The Kremlin Letter Bresnavitch 1970-02-01
Movie Upon This Rock Michelangelo (voice) 1970-01-01
Movie Start the Revolution Without Me The Narrator 1970-08-14
Movie A Horse Called Nijinsky Narrator 1970-01-01
Movie The Enemy Before Us Narrator 1970-10-16
Movie An Evening with Orson Welles: The Golden Honeymoon Unknown 1970-12-31
Series Night Gallery Unknown 1970-12-16
Series An Evening with Orson Welles 1970-12-01
Movie Salvador Dalí: A Soft Self-Portrait Narrator 1970-12-01
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 To Build a Fire Narrator (voice) 1969-01-01
Movie The Fight for Rome II - The Betrayal Justinian 1969-02-21
Movie The Southern Star Plankett 1969-03-04
Movie The Battle of Neretva Četnik 1969-10-07
Movie The Merchant of Venice Shylock 1969-12-01
Movie Twelve Plus One Markan 1969-10-06
Movie The Immortal Story Charles Clay 1968-06-01
Movie Portrait: Orson Welles Self 1968-06-01
Movie Vienna Himself 1968-01-01
Movie Oedipus the King Tiresias 1968-06-01
Series Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In Guest Performer 1968-01-22
Series One Man Band Unknown 1968-12-01
Movie The Fight for Rome Justinian 1968-12-17
Series The Dick Cavett Show Himself - Guest 1968-06-06
Series The Name of the Game Narrator 1968-09-20
Movie Around the World of Mike Todd Self - Narrator 1968-09-08
Movie House of Cards Leschenhaut 1968-09-16
Movie Ten Days That Shook the World Narrator 1967-01-01
Movie The Sailor from Gibraltar Unknown 1967-01-01
Movie Casino Royale Le Chiffre 1967-04-23
Movie Disorder Is 20 Years Old Self 1967-06-06
Movie I'll Never Forget What's'isname Jonathan Lute 1967-12-18
Movie Orson Welles in Spain Himself 1966-06-01
Movie Is Paris Burning? Konsul Nordling 1966-10-26
Movie A Man for All Seasons Cardinal Wolsey 1966-12-12
Movie A King's Story Narrator 1965-01-01
Movie Chimes at Midnight Falstaff 1965-03-16
Movie Marco the Magnificent Akerman, Marco's Teacher 1965-08-06
Movie The Finest Hours Narrator (voice) 1964-09-29
Series In the Land of Don Quixote Himself 1964-01-01
Movie La ricotta The 'Director' 1963-02-19
Movie Ro.Go.Pa.G. The 'Director' (segment "La ricotta") 1963-02-19
Movie The V.I.P.s Max Buda 1963-09-01
Series Hollywood and the Stars Himself (archive footage) 1963-09-30
Movie Lafayette Benjamin Franklin 1962-02-14
Series The Merv Griffin Show Self 1962-10-01
Movie River of the Ocean Narrator 1962-12-09
Movie The Trial Albert Hastler 1962-12-21
Series Survival Narrator 1961-02-01
Movie The Tartars Burundai 1961-08-18
Movie King of Kings Narrator (Voice) 1961-10-11
Series Tempo Unknown 1961-10-15
Movie David and Goliath Re Saul 1960-01-22
Movie Crack in the Mirror Hagolin / Lamerciere 1960-05-19
Movie Austerlitz Robert Fulton 1960-06-17
Movie An Arabian Night Storyteller 1960-06-09
Movie Compulsion Jonathan Wilk 1959-04-01
Movie High Journey Narrator 1959-12-31
Movie Ferry to Hong Kong Captain Hart 1959-10-29
Movie The Long, Hot Summer Will Varner 1958-04-03
Movie Orson Welles at Large: Portrait of Gina 1958-01-01
Movie The Vikings Narrator (voice) (uncredited) 1958-06-11
Movie Touch of Evil Police Captain Hank Quinlan 1958-03-30
Movie Les Seigneurs de la forêt Narrator 1958-11-21
Movie South Seas Adventure Narrator 1958-06-14
Movie The Roots of Heaven Cy Sedgewick 1958-10-15
Series Colgate Theatre Unknown 1958-08-19
Movie The Fountain of Youth the narrator 1958-09-16
Movie Man in the Shadow Virgil Renchler 1957-11-01
Series The Steve Allen Show Unknown 1956-06-24
Movie Out of Darkness Self - Narrator 1956-12-02
Movie Moby Dick Father Mapple 1956-06-27
Movie Mr. Arkadin Gregory Arkadin 1955-03-01
Movie Three Cases of Murder Lord Mountdrago ("Lord Mountdrago" segment) 1955-03-15
Movie Moby Dick—Rehearsed An Actor Manager / Father Mapple / Ahab 1955-01-01
Series Ford Star Jubilee Oscar Jaffe 1955-09-24
Series Around the World with Orson Welles Host: Orson Welles 1955-10-07
Movie Napoleon Sir Hudson Lowe 1955-03-25
Movie Orson Welles' Sketch Book Self - Host 1955-04-24
Series Orson Welles' Sketch Book Himself - Host 1955-04-24
Movie Royal Affairs in Versailles Benjamin Franklin 1954-02-10
Movie Trouble in the Glen Sanin Cejador y Mengues 1954-06-15
Movie Return to Glennascaul: A Story That Is Told in Dublin Narrator 1953-02-01
Movie King Lear King Lear 1953-10-18
Series Omnibus King Lear 1952-11-09
Movie Man, Beast, and Virtue Captain Perella, the Beast 1952-01-01
Movie Don Camillo Voice of Christ 1952-03-28
Movie Trent's Last Case Sigsbee Manderson 1952-09-22
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 Black Rose Bayan 1950-09-01
Series What's My Line? Unknown 1950-02-02
Movie Prince of Foxes Cesare Borgia 1949-11-11
Movie Disorder Himself 1949-01-01
Movie Black Magic Joseph Balsamo aka Count Cagliostro 1949-08-19
Movie The Third Man Harry Lime 1949-08-31
Movie Macbeth Macbeth 1948-10-01
Series The Ed Sullivan Show Unknown 1948-06-20
Movie The Lady from Shanghai Michael O'Hara 1947-12-24
Movie Battle for Survival Narrator 1946-07-25
Movie Tomorrow Is Forever John Andrew MacDonald 1946-02-20
Movie The Stranger Charles Rankin 1946-07-02
Movie Duel in the Sun Narrator (voice) (uncredited) 1946-12-31
Movie Mexico City, Old and New Narrator 1945-12-01
Movie Know Your Ally: Britain Narrator/Bob (helpful taxi passenger) 1944-01-01
Movie Follow the Boys Orson Welles 1944-05-05
Movie Journey into Fear Colonel Haki 1943-01-07
Movie Show-Business at War Himself 1943-05-21
Movie Jane Eyre Edward Rochester 1943-12-24
Movie The Magnificent Ambersons Narrator (voice) 1942-07-10
Movie Citizen Kane Charles Foster Kane 1941-04-17
Movie Swiss Family Robinson Opening Narrator 1940-02-08
Movie The Spanish Earth Narrator (voice) 1937-07-10
Movie The Hearts of Age Death 1934-01-01