Joseph Cotten

Joseph Cotten


5/15/1905, Petersburg, Virginia, USA



Birth Name

Joseph Cheshire Cotten



Also Known As

Joseph Cotton
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Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Joseph wrote additional scenes for The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) as well as the screenplay for Journey Into Fear (1943).

    • Joseph published his autobiography "Vanity Will Get You Somewhere" in 1987.

    • Joseph enjoyed gardening, something he pursued fulltime after retiring from acting in 1981 due to a stroke.

    • Joseph first met Orson Welles during a radio audition for CBS. The play they were working on was set on a rubber plantation, and the two couldn't stop laughing whenever the line "barrels and barrels of pith" was read, resulting in their being dismissed.

    • Joseph appeared in 5 films with Jennifer Jones, including:

      Since You Went Away (1944)
      Love Letters (1945)
      Duel In The Sun (1946)
      Portait Of Jennie (1948)
      The Wild Heart (1952)

    • Joseph worked several jobs after graduating acting school, including being a shipping clerk and as a ad salesman selling both ads for the Miami Herald (which he also worked for as a drama critic) and his own product, "Tip Top Potato Salad."

    • Joseph was a theatre critic for the Miami Herald in the late 1920s, a job he spoofed in his role as Jed Leland in Citizen Kane (1941).

    • Joseph appeared in a December 1958 ad for Smirnoff Vodka in Esquire Magazine.

    • The only copy of Joseph's film debut, in Too Much Johnson (1938), was destroyed in a fire at director Orson Welles' villa in August 1970.

    • Joseph was married, twice, to Lenore Kipp from 1931 until her death in 1960, and to Patricia Medina, from 1960 until his death.

    • Joseph turned down the role of John Ballantine in Spellbound (1945). He was Alfred Hitchcock's second choice after Cary Grant, who also turned it down, and the part went to Gregory Peck.

    • Joseph did a radio commercial for the American Service Center, an automobile dealer in Arlington, Virginia in 1980.

    • Joseph made 8 films with Orson Welles, including:

      Too Much Johnson (1938)
      Citizen Kane (1941)
      The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
      Journey Into Fear (1943)
      Duel In The Sun (1946)
      The Third Man (1949)
      The Tragedy Of Othello: The Moor Of Venice (1952)
      Touch Of Evil (1958)

    • Joseph has a Motion Picture star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6382 Hollywood Boulevard.

    • Joseph was 6 feet 2 inches tall.

    • Joseph Cotten was buried in Petersburg, Virginia at the Blandford Cemetery.

  • Quotes

    • Joseph starred with Edward G. Robinson in Robinson's final film, Soylent Green (1973).

    • Joseph Cotten: I didn't care about the movies really. I was tall. I could talk. It was easy to do.

    • (about Orson Welles)
      Joseph Cotten: I know a little about Orson's childhood and seriously doubt if he ever was a child.

    • Joseph Cotten: Orson Welles lists Citizen Kane as his best film, Alfred Hitchcock opts for Shadow of a Doubt and Sir Carol Reed chose The Third Man – and I'm in all of them.

    • Joseph Cotten: My wife told me one of the sweetest things one could hear: "I am not jealous. But I am truly sad for all the actresses who embrace you and kiss you while acting, for with them, you are only pretending."