1. George Orson Welles was an American actor, director, writer, and producer who worked in theatre, radio, and film.
2. He is remembered for his innovative work in all three: in theatre, most notably Caesar , consistently ranked as one of the all-time greatest films.
3. Welles directed a number of high-profile stage productions for the Federal Theatre Project in his early twenties, including an innovative adaptation of Macbeth with an entirely African American cast, and the political musical The Cradle Will Rock.
4. In 1937 he and John Houseman founded the Mercury Theatre, an independent repertory theatre company that presented an acclaimed series of productions on Broadway through 1941.
5. It reportedly caused widespread panic when listeners thought that an invasion by extraterrestrial beings was occurring.
6. Although some contemporary sources claim these reports of panic were mostly false and overstated, they rocketed Welles to notoriety.
7. His first film was Citizen Kane , which he co-wrote, produced, directed, and starred in as Charles Foster Kane.
8. Welles was an outsider to the studio system and directed only 13 full-length films in his career.
9. Because of this, he struggled for creative control from the major film studios, and his films were either heavily edited or remained unreleased.
10. His distinctive directorial style featured layered and nonlinear narrative forms, innovative uses of lighting such as chiaroscuro, unusual camera angles, sound techniques borrowed from radio, deep focus shots, and long takes.
11. He has been praised as a major creative force and as “the ultimate auteur”. :6
12. Welles followed up Citizen Kane with critically acclaimed films including The Magnificent Ambersons in 1942 and Touch of Evil in 1958.
13. Although these three are his most acclaimed films, critics have argued other works of his, such as The Lady from Shanghai , are underappreciated.
14. In 2002, Welles was voted the greatest film director of all time in two British Film Institute polls among directors and critics, Welles was a well-regarded actor in radio and film, a celebrated Shakespearean stage actor, and an accomplished magician noted for presenting troop variety shows in the war years.
15. George Orson Welles was born May 6, 1915, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, son of Richard Head Welles (b.
16. His father, who made a fortune as the inventor of a popular bicycle lamp, became an alcoholic and stopped working.
17. It was decided that he would spend the summer with the Watson family at a private art colony in Wyoming, New York, established by Lydia Avery Coonley Ward. :8 There he played and became friends with the children of the Aga Khan, including the 12-year-old Prince Aly Khan.