Authentic Wisconsin.  Orson Welles

Orson Welles was born on May 6, 1915 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Orson Welles - Actor, director, producer (theatre, radio, and film); born George Orson Welles on May 6, 1915, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Welles is best known for his 1938 radio broadcast, "The War of the Worlds" (listen to broadcast), and directing films like "Citizen Kane", "The Magnificent Ambersons" and "A Touch of Evil", that each starred Welles.

His first film and masterpiece, 1941's "Citizen Kane", is usually cited as the greatest movie ever made. Welles stars as newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane. The film was nominated for Academy Awards in nine categories and won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay (that Welles co-wrote with Herman J. Mankiewicz).

Welles early life was in and out of Wisconsin. His parents separated and moved from Kenosha to Chicago in 1919 when Welles was four years old. Five years later, Welles' mother, Beatrice, died of hepatitis on May 10, 1924, just after Welles's ninth birthday. The next three years are what Welles later described as "a hectic period" in his life, where he travel with his father to Jamaica and the Far East and moved to Grand Detour, Illinois where his father owned a hotel. When the hotel burned down, Welles and his father took to the road again.

Welles briefly attended the Washington School on North Broom Street in Madison, Wisconsin, enrolled in the fourth grade. The Feb. 19, 1926, edition of The Capital Times included a feature about Welles during his extended visit in Madison with the headline, "Cartoonist, Actor, Poet and only 10". The accompanying photo showed a grinning boy wearing an eccentric ascot tie. Welles was in Madison, attending the Washington School while living temporarily with a UW-Madison psychology instructor in an apartment on State Street. However, a few days after the The Capital Times article appeared, the State Street building suffered a fire, and Welles and his guardian then moved to The Baskerville on South Hamilton Street just off the Captiol Square.

On September 15, 1926, he entered the Todd Seminary for Boys, an expensive independent school in Woodstock, Illinois, that his older brother, Richard Ives Welles, had attended ten years before but was expelled for misbehavior.

Awards and nominations include:

  • 1942 Academy Award Winner, Best Original Screenplay, Citizen Kane
  • 1942 Academy Award Nomination, Best Actor, Citizen Kane
  • 1942 Academy Award Nomination, Best Director, Citizen Kane
  • 1971 Academy Award Winner, Honorary Award
  • For a complete list of Welles' numerous awards, visit IMDb

For more information on Orson Welles, visit Wikipedia.

Buy Orson Welles books at Amazon. (Click on image below to browse.)


Orson Welles movies at Amazon. (Click on image below to browse.)


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Famous Wisconsinites

Orson Welles
Actor, director and producer for radio film and stage.

Citizen Kane.

Above: Welles in Citizen Kane (1941). Welles directed, produced, co-wrote the screenplay and starred in this film that many critics, filmmakers, and fans consider to be the greatest film of all time. It was Welles' first feature film and was nominated for Academy Awards in nine categories. It won an Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay).

Orson Welles speaking .

Above: Orson Welles tells reporters that no one connected with the radio drama broadcast of "War of the Worlds" had any idea it would cause panic (October 31, 1938)

Above: Orson Welles talks about "Citizen Kane" in this 1960 interview from the BBC Monitor series.

Above: "Strangers" (1946) Starring Orson Welles, Edward G. Robinson and Loretta Young. Directed by Orson Welles.

Above: From 1978 - 1981, Welles was a spokesperson for Paul Masson brand wines and is best remembered for promising for Masson: "We will sell no wine before its time."

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