You are here

Andrea Nouryeh Orson Welles Collection

Andrea Nouryeh Orson Welles Collection

Collection Number: 
Collection Length: 
Geographic Coverage: 
New York City
1936 to 1946
Finding Aid: 
Orson Welles portrait
Orson Welles in Henry the Fourth

Universally regarded as one of the finest screen and stage directors and producers of the 20th century, George Orson Welles was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 1915. Welles made his stage debut in Ireland in 1931 and by 1933 he was touring off-Broadway.

In 1936, Welles directed a well received new version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, called "Voodoo Macbeth" for the Federal Theater Project, featuring African-American actors. When the lead actor fell ill during a national tour, Welles stepped into the title role in blackface to great acclaim. The 20 year old director/actor was hailed as a prodigy. Over the next five decades, Welles went on to act in, produce and direct dozens of stage productions, radio broadcasts, and films, and made numerous television appearances. Among his most famous works are the radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds (1938), Citizen Kane (1941), Macbeth (1948), and Othello (1952). In later years, Welles made numerous TV appearances and continued his work on stage and film. He died in 1985 two hours after being interviewed on The Merv Griffin Show.

This collection consists of materials compiled by SLU Associate Prof. Andrea Nouryeh for her research on Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater for her dissertation and later research. Included are photographs, scripts, comparative notes, correspondence and other documents related to Welles’ musical version of Around the World in 80 Days for the Mercury Summer Theater and his film adaptation of Macbeth, as well as photos related to stage productions of Julius Cesar, Five Kings, Henry IV, Shoemaker’s Holiday, Heartbreak House and The Cradle Will Rock. The vast majority of the non-photographic material in the collection are photocopies