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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 was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin to businessman and inventor, Richard (Dick) Welles, and pianist, Beatrice Ives Welles. When he was six, Orson’s parents separated. Three years later, his mother died of hepatitis. At age 11, Orson was sent to boarding school and after his father died, the principal of the school became 15 year old Orson's guardian. Orson Welles 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. 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. His first film was Citizen Kane (1941), which is consistently ranked as the greatest film ever made, and which he co-wrote, produced, directed and starred in as Charles Foster Kane. In 2002 Orson Welles was voted the greatest film director of all time in two British Film Institute polls among directors and critics, and in 2018 he was included in the list of the 50 greatest Hollywood actors of all time by The Daily Telegraph.

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