Orson Welles

Orson Welles in 1937, by Carl Van Vechten. LC-USZ62-119765 at the Carl Van Vechten Photographs collection-Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division

Birth Name: George Orson Welles

Date of Birth: May 6, 1915

Place of Birth: Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S.

Date of Death: October 10, 1985

Place of Death: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Ethnicity: English, Scottish, remote Welsh

Orson Welles was an American actor, director, writer, and producer. He directed the films Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Stranger (1946), The Lady from Shanghai, Macbeth (1948), Othello (1951), Mr. Arkadin, Touch of Evil, The Trial, Chimes at Midnight, The Immortal Story, F for Fake, and The Other Side of the Wind, all of which he also appeared in. He also starred in the films Jane Eyre (1943), The Third Man, Royal Affairs in Versailles, Moby Dick (1956), Compulsion, A Man for All Seasons, Casino Royale (1967), and Waterloo (1970), on the radio anthology The Mercury Theatre on the Air, and in many stage productions.

He was the son of Beatrice (Ives) and Richard Head Welles (born Richard Hodgdon Wells). Orson was married to actress and aristocrat Paola Mori, until his death. He had a daughter with his former wife Virginia Nicolson; a daughter with his former wife, actress Rita Hayworth; and a daughter, actress Beatrice Welles, with Paola.

Orson’s paternal grandfather was Richard Jones Welles (the son of Henry Hill Wells/Welles and Mary Putnam). Richard was born in Pennsylvania. Henry was the son of William Hill Wells, whose father was born in Hull, England, and of Elizabeth Dagworthy Aydelott. Orson’s great-great-grandfather William H. Wells was a Federalist politician, who served as a U.S. Senator from Delaware, from January 17, 1799 to November 6, 1804, and again, from May 28, 1813 to March 3, 1817. William’s father was English. Orson’s great-great-grandmother Elizabeth was the ward of Revolutionary War General John Dagworthy.

Orson’s paternal grandmother was Mary Blanche Head (the daughter of Orson Sherman Head and Mary Jane Treadwell). Orson’s grandmother Mary was born in Wisconsin. Orson’s great-grandfather Orson S. Head was a prominent attorney, the son of Jonathan Head, Jr. and Hepzibah Livermore. Orson’s great-grandmother Mary Jane was the daughter of Ephraim Tradewell and Marina Gates.

Orson’s maternal grandfather was Benjamin John Ives (the son of John Garrett Ives and Abigail Watson). Benjamin was born in Illinois. Abigail was the daughter of William Weldon Watson and Maria Cape.

Orson’s maternal grandmother was Lucy Alice Walker (the daughter of Hiram W. Walker and Martha E. Scott). Lucy was born in Illinois.

Sources: Genealogy of Orson Welles – http://www.geni.com

Genealogies of Orson Welles (focusing on his father’s side) – http://www.wikitree.com

Genealogy of Orson Welles (focusing on his mother’s side) – http://www.findagrave.com

Some of Orson’s remote ancestors – https://www.findagrave.com


Curious about ethnicity

10 Responses

  1. jonasbsjr says:

    Really no traceble irish? Welles is a fairly common irish surname.

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