Image Source: Wikipedia

Orson Welles

George Orson Welles (May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985) was an American actor, director, writer and producer who is remembered for his innovative work in radio, theatre and film. He is considered one of the greatest filmmakers of all time.

While in his twenties Welles directed a number of high-profile stage productions for the Federal Theatre Project, including an adaptation of Macbeth with an entirely African American cast and the political musical The Cradle Will Rock. In 1937 he and John Houseman founded the Mercury Theatre, an independent repertory theatre company that presented a series of productions on Broadway through 1941, including Caesar (1937), a Broadway adaptation of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

In 1938, his radio anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air gave Welles the platform to find international fame as the director and narrator of a radio adaptation of H. G. Wells's novel The War of the Worlds, which caused widespread panic because many listeners thought that an invasion by extraterrestrial beings was actually occurring. Although some contemporary sources say these reports of panic were mostly false and overstated, they rocketed Welles to notoriety.

His first film was Citizen Kane (1941), which is consistently ranked as the greatest film ever made, which he co-wrote, produced, directed and starred in as Charles Foster Kane. Welles released twelve other features, the most acclaimed of which include The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), The Lady from Shanghai (1947), Touch of Evil (1958), The Trial (1962), Chimes at Midnight (1966) and F for Fake (1973). His distinctive directorial style featured layered and nonlinear narrative forms, uses of lighting such as chiaroscuro, unusual camera angles, sound techniques borrowed from radio, deep focus shots and long takes. He has been praised as "the ultimate auteur".

Welles was an outsider to the studio system, and struggled for creative control on his projects early on with the major film studios in Hollywood and later in life with a variety of independent financiers across Europe, where he spent most of his career. Many of his films were either heavily edited or remained unreleased. Some, like Touch of Evil, have been painstakingly re-edited from his notes. With a development spanning almost 50 years, Welles's final film, The Other Side of the Wind, was released in 2018.

Welles had three marriages, including one with Rita Hayworth, and three children. Known for his baritone voice, Welles performed extensively across theatre, radio and film. He was a lifelong magician noted for presenting troop variety shows in the war years. In 2002 he was voted the greatest film director of all time in two British Film Institute polls among directors and critics. In 2018 he was included in the list of the 50 greatest Hollywood actors of all time by The Daily Telegraph.

Birth and Death Data: Born May 6, 1915 (Kenosha), Died October 10, 1985 (Los Angeles)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1944 - 1945

Roles Represented in DAHR: speaker, director, narrator

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 36 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Decca 72426 10-in. 10/12/1944 Abraham Lincoln Orson Welles narrator  
Decca L 3544 12-in. 8/23/1944 The song of songs (from the Bible) : Part 1 Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3545 10-in. 8/23/1944 The song of songs (from the Bible) : Part 2 Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3561 12-in. 8/30/1944 Emile Zola: Truth and justice cost too dear Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3562 12-in. 8/30/1944 Carnot: The new world teaches the old Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3563 10-in. 8/30/1944 Churchill's speech, part 1 Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3564 10-in. 8/30/1944 Churchill's speech, part 2 Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3565 12-in. 8/31/1944 F. D. Roosevelt: First war address: Part 1 Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3566 12-in. 8/31/1944 F. D. Roosevelt: First war address: Part 2 Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3567 Not documented 8/31/1944 Our country's call Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3568 12-in. 8/31/1944 Pericles: The world is their sepulchre Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3569 12-in. 8/31/1944 Lincoln's Gettysburg address Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3587 12-in. 9/8/1944 Patrick Henry—Liberty or death : Part 1 Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3588 12-in. 9/8/1944 Patrick Henry—Liberty or death : Part 2 Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3591 12-in. 9/9/1944 John Brown: In behalf of his despised poor Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3592 12-in. 9/9/1944 Thomas Jefferson-First Inaugural address: Part 1 Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3593 12-in. 9/9/1944 Thomas Jefferson-First Inaugual address: Part 2 Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3594 12-in. 9/11/1944 Thomas Payne: Tyranny is not easily conquered Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3595 Not documented 9/11/1944 Woodrow Wilson Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3596 12-in. 9/13/1944 Daniel Webster: Liberty and union. now and forever Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3717 Not documented 1/5/1945 Giuseppe Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3718 Not documented 1/5/1945 Woodrow Wilson Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3719 Not documented 1/15/1945 John Donne: For whom the bell tolls Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3812 10-in. 4/25/1945 Dumbarton Oaks, part 1 Orson Welles speaker  
Decca L 3813 Not documented 4/25/1945 Dumbarton Oaks, part 2 Orson Welles speaker  
(Results 1-25 of 36 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Welles, Orson," accessed August 8, 2022, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/210866.

Welles, Orson. (2022). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/210866.

"Welles, Orson." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2022. Web. 8 August 2022.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/210866

Wikipedia content provided under the terms of the Creative Commons BY-SA license

Feedback

Send the Editors a message about this record.