cover image Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles

Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles

Frank Brady. Scribner Book Company, $24.95 (655pp) ISBN 978-0-684-18982-6

Brady's quiet but unrelenting passion for his subject pulsates beneath his variegated and vastly human portrait of stage, radio and film genius Orson Welles. In addition to vivid behind-the-scenes accounts of such acknowledged Welles landmarks as his innovative Mercury Theatre productions, the infamous War of the Worlds broadcast and film masterpieces Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons , Brady, biographer of Streisand, Hugh Hefner et al., unsparingly chronicles Welles's professional descent in a commercially oriented Hollywood that consistently turned a blind eye to the iconoclastic artist in its midst. Ironically, like his most enduring character, Charles Foster Kane, whom he once described as ``fighting a losing battle with the twentieth century,'' Welles, in Brady's candid depiction, ends up a somewhat embittered, bewildered victim of the same fate. Photos. (Apr.)