Orson Welles

Essay by Anonymous UserA-, January 1997

download word file, 4 pages 4.1

History of Cinema

Term Paper

Orson Welles

The term 'genius' was applied to him from the cradle, first by the man who would vie with Orson's father to nurture the talent all agreed resided in the fragile boy.(Leaming, 3)

George Orson Welles was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin on May 6, 1915. He was the second son of Richard Head Welles, an inventor, and his wife Beatrice Ives, a concert pianist. His mother was the child of a wealthy family. She had been brought up to revere artistic achievements, and began playing the piano, professionally, only after her marriage broke up when Orson was six. A local doctor, Russian-Jewish orthopedist named Maurice Bernstein, who was a passionate admirer of Mrs. Welles, on first sight of the infant Orson declared him to be without a doubt a genius. Bernstein showered Orson with gifts and virtually took over the direction of his life, to such an extent that Orson called him 'Dadda'.

When Orson was four, his father moved his family to Chicago, possibly to get away from Bernstein's attentions. This plan failed when Bernstein almost immediately followed them. Through Bernstein who was always forcing him to perform, and through his mother musical talents, the young Orson quickly came into contact with Chicago's musical society and walked on in the Chicago Opera's production of 'Samson and Delilah', then in a more important role of Butterfly's love-child Trouble in 'Madame Butterfly'. He also got a temporary job dressed up as a rabbit at Marshall Fields.

Shortly after Orson's sixth birthday his parent's formally separated, his father taking off and his mother remaing to pursue her music ambitions in Chicago. Welles live most of his time with his mother and Dadda Bernstein, but regularly traveled with his father on holidays.

His health effectively kept him...