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Profile of the Day: Orson Welles

Profile of the Day: Orson Welles

Orson Welles

Today we remember filmmaker Orson Welles, who died on this day in 1985 at the age of 70.

George Orson Welles was born on May 6, 1915 in Kenosha, Wisconsin to Richard Head Welles, an inventor, and Beatrice Ives, a concert pianist. His parents separated when he was 4, and his mother died when he was 9. His father had made a fortune after inventing a popular bicycle lamp, but became an alcoholic and died of heart and kidney failure when Welles was 15.

Early in his career, Welles juggled work in the theater with his extensive work as radio actor, writer, director and producer. On October 30, 1938, Welles performed his famous radio broadcast of H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds. The infamous broadcast sparked panic and fear for those who tuned in and mistakenly believed the event was real. The media attention surrounding the broadcast would bring Welles instant fame and catch the attention of Hollywood.

In addition to his radio and theater work, Welles lit up the big screen as an actor, writer, producer, and director. In 1941, Welles released his first film, Citizen Kane, which would be remembered as one of the greatest films ever made.

Welles died on the morning of October 10, 1985 of a heart attack.

Explore Orson Welles’s family tree on Geni and share how you’re connected to the legendary filmmaker.

View Orson Welles’s Geni Profile


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Image: Library of Congress


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