Orson Welles - Popular Culture

Popular Culture

  • One of the recurring celebrity characters on the influential Canadian sketch comedy TV show Second City Television was John Candy's impersonation of Welles. On SCTV, Candy-as-Welles appeared in an embarrassing array of commercials, talk shows, and other low-budget productions. It's unknown whether or not Welles ever saw Candy's impersonation.
  • Author Kim Newman has featured Orson Welles as a character in several stories from his Anno Dracula series.
  • Although the character Brain from the animated series Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain was not initially modeled after Welles, Maurice LaMarche was shown a picture of Brain and tasked with finding a voice for the character. LaMarche immediately thought of Welles and decided to do his Welles impersonation. LaMarche also played Welles in The Critic (where his "later work", ads for such products as 'Mrs. Pell's Fishsticks', is referenced) and in the Futurama episode "Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences", in which he performs a War of the Worlds-like play.
  • In Tim Burton's 1994 film Ed Wood, the character Orson Welles (played by Vincent D'Onofrio and dubbed by Maurice LaMarche) makes a brief "cameo appearance", giving advice to director Edward D. Wood, Jr. who idolises Welles. Inspired, Wood proceeds to finish his film Plan 9 from Outer Space, sometimes called one of the worst films of all time. Though Ed Wood is based on Wood's life, in reality the scene is entirely fictional: Wood never met Orson Welles. D'Onofrio would again portray Welles in the 2005 30-minute film Five Minutes Mr. Welles concerning Welles's role in the film The Third Man.
  • In Peter Jackson's 1994 film Heavenly Creatures, the character Pauline Parker (played by Melanie Lynskey) attempts to include a picture of Orson Welles in the pantheon of beauty Juliet Hulme (played by Kate Winslet) has crafted, but is rebuffed.
  • The 1996 film The Battle Over Citizen Kane, which chronicles the battle between Welles and Hearst, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
  • A 1999 HBO docudrama, RKO 281, tells the story of the making of Citizen Kane, starring Liev Schreiber as Orson Welles.
  • Tim Robbins's 1999 film Cradle Will Rock chronicles the process and events surrounding Welles and John Houseman's production of the 1937 musical by Marc Blitzstein. In it, Welles is played by actor Angus MacFadyen.
  • Playwright and actor Austin Pendleton wrote the 2000 play Orson's Shadow about Welles and his collaboration with Laurence Olivier. It deals with the time that Welles directed Laurence Olivier in a production of Eugène Ionesco's play Rhinoceros.
  • In Michael Chabon's 2000 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, the three main characters meet Orson Welles and attend the premiere of Citizen Kane, then stay up all night discussing the film's impression upon them afterwards.
  • The film Fade to Black (2006) is a fictional thriller based on Welles's 1948 journey to Rome to star in the movie Black Magic.
  • The final segment of The Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror XVII" (2006) features a parody of Welles's 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast in which, having been fooled once, the people of Springfield refuse to believe that an actual alien invasion is taking place. Welles was again voiced by Maurice LaMarche in the episode.
  • Me and Orson Welles (2009), based on Robert Kaplow's novel, stars Zac Efron as a teenager who convinces Welles (Christian McKay) to cast him in Welles's 1937 production of Julius Caesar.
  • In March 2012, citizens of Woodstock, Illinois, and Wellesnet, the Orson Welles web resource, began petitioning the United States Postal Service to issue a stamp in 2015 to honor Orson Welles on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Read more about this topic:  Orson Welles

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