Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles

Univ. Pr. of Kentucky. Apr. 2023. 880p. ISBN 9780813197135. pap. $40. BIOG
The last 20 years have produced a wide array of works on Orson Welles (1915–85): some focus on particular periods of his career or were part of a multivolume biography, such as Simon Callow’s still unfinished four-part opus; others are colleagues’ memoirs. This reprint of Brady’s (Bobby Fischer: Profile of a Prodigy) illuminating 1989 biography refreshingly focuses on Welles, the artist and filmmaker, due to Brady’s observation that Welles’s real biography lies in his work. After interviewing countless contemporaries of Welles’s, Brady collected the most pertinent details of his career in theater, radio, and film and crafted them into a comprehensive narrative that still manages to whet the appetite for more. And with Welles, there is always more. Brady covers Welles’s personal life in a thorough and objective manner but thankfully avoids the prurient details that many other biographers chose to focus on. Brady is also an excellent storyteller, and this deeply researched book maintains an engaging narrative. This is a word-for-word reprint of the original, except for minor edits to the preface, and it does not include the original’s selected list of his film, stage, and radio appearances.
VERDICT A wonderfully crafted and honest look at a creative giant.
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