1. He sent the public into a frenzy after a radio broadcast.
In 1938, Welles had to publicly apologize for making The War of the Worlds radio broadcast so believable that he caused widespread panic in his listeners.
2. He knew how to insult celebrities.
“Thank you, Donald, for that well-meant but rather pedestrian introduction.”
3. He wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the greatest movie of all time…when he was 26 years old.
Citizen Kane is consistently ranked as the greatest movie of all time. He created this film when he was about 15 years younger than Ben Affleck is now. Yeah.
4. He sat next to Hitler and found him boring.
Welles was seated next to Adolf Hitler when the Nazis were just a “comical minority of nuts that nobody took seriously at all … he made so little impression on me that I can’t remember a second of it. He had no personality whatsoever,” Welles says.
That’s how cool Orson Welles was — he could insult the most villainous main of the 20th century by calling him boring.
5. He filmed commercials while intoxicated.
Enjoying the wine you’re advertising is sometimes more important than actually advertising it.
6. He had a fistfight with Ernest Hemingway.
Welles was recording the narration for a documentary on the Spanish Civil War that Hemingway helped write. At a screening for the film, Welles wanted to omit certain lines. Hemingway didn’t. Hemingway threw some derogatory words Welles’ way. Welles threw some back. And in front of the audience watching the documentary, the two legends got into a fistfight. Nobody won, and apparently they went out for whiskey later.
It’s a shame there was never a Hemingway vs. Wells II at Madison Square Garden or in some back alley in Spain.
7. He courted many beautiful women.
Welles had affairs with a myriad of women, including actresses like Dolores Del Rio and Paola Mori. But most notably he was married to Rita Hayworth, the actress who was considered one of the great beauties of her day.
And she helped Andy Dufresne escape.