Orson Welles's father, Richard Head Welles, was an inventor who made a fortune by inventing the carbide bicycle lamp. He died a few days after Christmas in 1930. Orson Welles's mother, Beatrice Ives Welles, was a concert pianist, suffragette and civil rights campaigner. She died in 1924, four days after her son's ninth birthday. Orson Welles had one brother, Richard Head Welles Jr., who was almost exactly ten years his senior and died almost exactly ten years before him, in 1975.
Welles average dinner consisted of 2 72 oz steaks cooked rare with a pinch of scotch.
Welles was the narrator for many Trailers for the movie Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
By late 1984 Welles had weighed over 350 pounds.
In 1983 Welles ate 18 hot dogs in one sitting.
While Welles was providing the voice of Unicron in the transformers movie he became so weak from doing this, they had to run his voice through a synthesizer.
Welles had written over 50 scripts but from 1978-1984 not a single one of them were produced.
In the late 70s Welles was the offical spokesman for the Paul Masson wine company.
Welles hated working on The Transformers: The Movie (1986), where he voiced Unicron. When asked about the film, he not only couldn't remember the name of his character, but he described the film as being "I play a big toy who attacks a bunch of smaller toys".
His performance as Harry Lime in The Third Man (1949) is ranked #93 on Premiere Magazine's "100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time".
His performance as Charles Foster Kane in Citizen Kane (1941) is ranked #12 on Premiere Magazine's "100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time".
On 30 October of 1938, Welles directed the Mercury Theatre On the Air in a dramatization of The War of the Worlds, based on H.G. Wells' novel. Setting the events in then-contemporary locations (The "landing spot" for the Martian invasion, Grover's Mill, New Jersey, was chosen at random with a New Jersey road map) and dramatizing it in the style of a musical program interrupted by news bulletins, complete with eye-witness accounts, it caused a nationwide panic, with many listeners fully convinced that the Earth was being invaded by Mars. The next day, Welles publicly apologized. While many lawsuits were filed against both Welles and the CBS radio network, all were dismissed. The incident is mentioned in textbook accounts of mass hysteria and the delusions of crowds.
Welles is one of only six actors to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his first screen appearance. The other five actors are: Alan Arkin, James Dean, Paul Muni, Montgomery Clift and Lawrence Tibbett.
Once H.G. Wells was driving through San Antonio, Texas and stopped to ask the way. The person he happened to ask was none other than Orson Welles who had recently broadcast The War of the Worlds on the radio. They got on well and spent the day together.
Welles is one of the most recognizable deep voices in all of film, radio or television.
He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1988.
Welles was voted the 2nd "Greatest Film Director of all time" by Entertainment Weekly.
Welles was the narrator for many of the trailers for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979).
On 2005, Welles was ranked #9 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Greatest Directors Ever!".
Welles considered black and white to be "the actor's best friend", feeling that it focused more on the actor's expressions and feelings than on hair, eye or wardrobe color.
Orson Welles frequently casted Joseph Cotten.
Orson Welles father was a concert pianist.
Orson Welles astrological star sign is Taurus.
Orson Welles was married to movie star Rita Hayworth.
Orson Welles received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his first ever screen appearance in Citizen Kane.
Frank Sinatra was the godfather of one of his daughters.
Orson Welles was originally going to do the voice of Darth Vader but he turned it down and it went to James Earl Jones.
Orson Welles was a film director, actor and writer.
Orson Welles has been divorced twice.
Orson Welles has been married three times.
Orson Welles was 6'1" tall.
He died the same day as Yul Brynner.
He made The Lady from Shanghai (1947) towards the end of his marriage to Rita Hayworth. They were constantly fighting at the time and (some say as a comeuppance to Hayworth) he made her cut off most of her long, luxurious red hair and dye it bright platinum blonde.
Welles was named #16 on the "50 Greatest Screen Legends" list of the American Film Institute.
Welles: When you are down and out something always turns up-and it is usually the noses of your friends.
Welles: We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone.
Welles: They teach anything in universities today. You can major in mud pies.
Welles: The word genius was whispered into my ear, the first thing I ever heard, while I was still mewling in my crib. So it never occurred to me that I wasn't until middle age.
Welles: The laws and the stage, both are a form of exhibitionism.
Welles: The ideal American type is perfectly expressed by the Protestant, individualist, anti-conformist, and this is the type that is in the process of disappearing. In reality there are few left.
Welles: The essential is to excite the spectators. If that means playing Hamlet on a flying trapeze or in an aquarium, you do it.
Welles: The enemy of society is middle class and the enemy of life is middle age.
Welles: The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.
Welles: The director is simply the audience. So the terrible burden of the director is to take the place of that yawning vacuum, to be the audience and to select from what happens during the day which movement shall be a disaster and which a gala night. His job is to preside over accidents.
Welles: The best thing commercially, which is the worst artistically, by and large, is the most successful.
Welles: Race hate isn't human nature; race hate is the abandonment of human nature.
Welles: Only very intelligent people don't wish they were in politics, and I'm dumb enough to want to be in there.
Welles: Nobody who takes on anything big and tough can afford to be modest.
Welles: Movie directing is a perfect refuge for the mediocre.
Welles: If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.
Welles: If there hadn't been women we'd still be squatting in a cave eating raw meat, because we made civilization in order to impress our girlfriends.
Welles: I want to give the audience a hint of a scene. No more than that. Give them too much and they won't contribute anything themselves. Give them just a suggestion and you get them working with you. That's what gives the theater meaning: when it becomes a social act.
Welles: I started at the top and worked my way down.
Welles: I passionately hate the idea of being with it; I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time.
Welles: I have a great love and respect for religion, great love and respect for atheism. What I hate is agnosticism, people who do not choose.
Welles: I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can't stop eating peanuts.
Welles: I don't say that we ought to all misbehave, but we ought to look as if we could.
Welles: I don't pray because I don't want to bore God.
Welles: I do not suppose I shall be remembered for anything. But I don't think about my work in those terms. It is just as vulgar to work for the sake of posterity as to work for the sake of money.
Welles: Hollywood is the only industry, even taking in soup companies, which does not have laboratories for the purpose of experimentation.
Welles: Every actor in his heart believes everything bad that's printed about him.
Welles: Ecstasy is not really part of the scene we can do on celluloid.
Welles: Create your own visual style... let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.
Welles: A good artist should be isolated. If he isn't isolated, something is wrong.
Orson Welles: In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed - they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.
Orson Welles: I do not suppose I shall be remembered for anything. But I don't think about my work in those terms. It is just as vulgar to work for the sake of posterity as to work for the sake of money.
Orson Welles: Gluttony is not a secret vice.
Orson Welles: A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.