Joseph Cotten

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Joseph Cotten
Joseph Cotten in 1942
Born Joseph Cheshire Cotten Jr.
(1905-05-15)May 15, 1905
Petersburg, Virginia, U.S.
Died February 6, 1994(1994-02-06) (aged 88)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.[1]
Burial place Blandford Cemetery, Petersburg, Virginia
Occupation Actor
Years active 1930–1981
Awards Volpi Cup for Best Actor:
1949 Portrait of Jennie

Joseph Cheshire Cotten Jr. (May 15, 1905 – February 6, 1994) was an American film, stage, radio and television actor. Cotten achieved prominence on Broadway, starring in the original stage productions of The Philadelphia Story and Sabrina Fair.

He first gained worldwide fame in three Orson Welles films: Citizen Kane (1941), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), and Journey into Fear (1943), for which Cotten was also credited with the screenplay. He went on to become one of the leading Hollywood actors of the 1940s, appearing in films such as Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Love Letters (1945), Duel in the Sun (1946), Portrait of Jennie (1948), The Third Man (1949) and Niagara (1953). One of his final films was Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate (1980).

Early life[edit]

Joseph Cotten modeled for The American Magazine (September 1931)
Joseph Cotten in Horse Eats Hat (1936)
Joseph Cotten and Edgar Barrier during the shooting of film sequences for the stage production Too Much Johnson (1938)
Joseph Cotten and Katharine Hepburn on Broadway in The Philadelphia Story (1939)
Joseph Cotten is introduced in the trailer for Citizen Kane (1941)
Joseph Cotten and Dolores del Río in Journey into Fear (1943)
George (Shorty) Chirello, Joseph Cotten, assistant Eleanor Counts and Orson Welles in The Mercury Wonder Show (1943)
Wedding of Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth, with best man Joseph Cotten (September 7, 1943)
Joseph Cotten in Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Members of the Independent Voters Committee of the Arts and Sciences for Roosevelt visit FDR at the White House (October 1944). From left: Van Wyck Brooks, Hannah Dorner, Jo Davidson, Jan Kiepura, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Gish, Dr. Harlow Shapley

Joseph Cotten was born in 1905 in Petersburg, Virginia, the first of three sons born to Joseph Cheshire Cotten, Sr., an assistant postmaster, and Sally Willson Cotten.[2]:224 He grew up in the Tidewater region and showed an aptitude for drama and a gift for storytelling.

In 1923, when Cotten was 18, his family arranged for him to receive private lessons at the Hickman School of Expression in Washington, D.C., and underwrote his expenses.


Cotten earned spending money playing professional football on Sundays, for $25 a quarter, after graduation, he earned enough money as a lifeguard at Wilcox Lake to pay back his family's loan, with interest.[2]:4–7

Cotten worked as an advertising agent, and then as a theatre critic, which inspired him to become involved in theatre productions, first in Virginia, then in New York City.

Radio and theatre[edit]

Cotten made his Broadway debut in 1930.

In 1934, Cotten met and became friends with Orson Welles, a fellow cast member on CBS Radio's The American School of the Air.[2]:30–31 Welles regarded Cotten as a brilliant comic actor,[3]:166 and gave him the starring role in his Federal Theatre Project farce, Horse Eats Hat[2]:34[4] (September 26 – December 5, 1936).[5]:334 Cotten was sure that Horse Eats Hat won him the notice of his future Broadway co-star, Katharine Hepburn.[2]:34

In 1937, Cotten became an inaugural member of Welles's Mercury Theatre company, starring in its Broadway productions Caesar, The Shoemaker's Holiday and Danton's Death, and in radio dramas presented on The Mercury Theatre on the Air and The Campbell Playhouse.

Cotten made his film debut in the Welles-directed short, Too Much Johnson, a comedy that was intended to complement the aborted 1938 Mercury stage production of William Gillette's 1890 play, the film was never screened in public and was lost until 2013.[6]

Cotten returned to Broadway in 1939, creating the role of C. K. Dexter Haven opposite Katharine Hepburn's Tracy Lord in the original production of Philip Barry's The Philadelphia Story, the play ran for a year at the Shubert Theatre, and in the months before its extensive national tour a film version was to be made by MGM. Cotten went to Hollywood, but discovered there that his stage success in The Philadelphia Story translated to, in the words of his agent Leland Hayward, "spending a solid year creating the Cary Grant role." Hayward suggested that they call Cotten's good pal, Orson Welles. "He's been making big waves out here," Hayward said. "Maybe nobody in Hollywood ever heard of the Shubert Theatre in New York, but everybody certainly knows about the Mercury Theatre in New York."[2]:34–37

Citizen Kane[edit]

After the success of Welles's War of the Worlds 1938 Halloween radio broadcast, Welles gained a unique contract with RKO Pictures, the two-picture deal promised full creative control for the young director below an agreed budget limit, and Welles's intention was to feature the Mercury Players in his productions. Shooting had still not begun on a Welles film after a year, but after a meeting with writer Herman J. Mankiewicz Welles had a suitable project.

In mid-1940, filming began on Citizen Kane, portraying the life of a press magnate (played by Welles) who starts out as an idealist but eventually turns into a corrupt, lonely old man, the film featured Cotten prominently in the role of Kane's best friend Jedediah Leland, eventually a drama critic for one of Kane's papers.

When released on May 1, 1941, Citizen Kane — based in part on the life of William Randolph Hearst — did not do much business at theaters; Hearst owned numerous major newspapers, and forbade them to carry advertisements for the film. Nominated for nine Academy Awards in 1942, the film won only for Best Screenplay, for Mankiewicz and Welles. Citizen Kane launched the film careers of the Mercury Players, including Agnes Moorehead (who played Kane's mother), Ruth Warrick (Kane's first wife), and Ray Collins (Kane's political opponent). However, Cotten was the only one of the four to find major success as a lead in Hollywood outside of Citizen Kane; Moorehead and Collins became successful character film actors and Warrick spent decades in a career in daytime television.

Later collaborations with Welles[edit]

Cotten starred a year later in Welles's adaptation and production of The Magnificent Ambersons, after the commercial disappointment of Citizen Kane, RKO was apprehensive about the new film, and after poor preview responses, cut it by nearly an hour before its release. Though at points the film appeared disjointed, it was well received by critics, despite the critical accolades Cotten received for his performance, he was again snubbed by the Academy.

Cotten and Welles (uncredited) wrote the Nazi-related thriller Journey into Fear (1943) based on the novel by Eric Ambler. Released by RKO, the Mercury production was directed by Norman Foster, it was a collaborative effort due to the difficulties shooting the film and the pressures related to Welles's imminent departure to South America to begin work on It's All True.[5]:165, 377

After Welles's return he and Cotten co-produced The Mercury Wonder Show for members of the U.S. armed services. Opening August 3, 1943, the all-star magic and variety show was presented in a tent at 9000 Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood. Featured were Welles (Orson the Magnificent), Cotten (Jo-Jo the Great), Rita Hayworth (forced to quit by Columbia Pictures boss Harry Cohn and replaced by Marlene Dietrich), Agnes Moorehead (Calliope Aggie) and others. Tickets were free to servicemen, and more than 48,000 of them had seen show by September 1943.[5]:177, 377–378

In late 1943, Cotten visited Welles's office and said that producer David O. Selznick wanted to make two or three films with him, but that he wanted him under his own contract. Welles then tore up Cotten's contract with Mercury Productions, saying, "He can do more for you than I can. Good luck!"[7]:186

In film, Cotten and Welles worked together in The Third Man (1949). Cotten portrays a writer of pulp fiction who travels to postwar Vienna to meet his friend Harry Lime (Welles). When he arrives, he is told that Lime has died. Determined to prove to the police that his friend was murdered, he uncovers an even darker secret.

Welles and Cotten remained close friends until Welles's death in 1985. According to Welles, Cotten was always uncomfortable as a leading man and preferred to play supporting or character roles.[8]

The 1940s and 1950s[edit]

The characters that Cotten played onscreen during the 1940s ranged from a serial killer in Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943) to an eager police detective in Gaslight (1944) and a U.S. Congressman in The Farmer's Daughter (1947). Cotten starred with Jennifer Jones in four films for Selznick International Pictures: the wartime domestic drama Since You Went Away (1944); the romantic drama Love Letters (1945); Duel in the Sun (1946), which remains one of the top 100 highest-grossing films of all time when adjusted for inflation; and the critically acclaimed Portrait of Jennie (1948), in which he played a melancholy artist who becomes obsessed with a girl who might have died many years before. As well as reuniting onscreen with Orson Welles in Carol Reed's The Third Man in 1949, Cotten reunited with Hitchcock in Under Capricorn (1949) as an Australian landowner with a shady past.

Exhibitors voted him the 17th most popular star in the United States in 1945.[9]

Cotten's screen career cooled in the 1950s with a string of less high-profile roles in films such as the dark Civil War Western Two Flags West (1950), the Joan Fontaine romance September Affair (1950), and the Marilyn Monroe vehicle Niagara (1953), after James Mason turned down the role. His last theatrical releases in the 1950s were mostly film-noir and unsuccessful character studies.

On the stage in 1953, Cotten created the role of Linus Larrabee, Jr., in the original Broadway production of Sabrina Fair, opposite Margaret Sullavan. The production ran November 11, 1953 – August 21, 1954, and was the basis of the Billy Wilder film Sabrina, which starred Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn.[10]

In 1956, Cotten left film for years for a string of successful television ventures, such as the NBC series On Trial[11] (renamed at mid-season The Joseph Cotten Show).

Cotten was featured in Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Ronald Reagan's General Electric Theater, he appeared on May 2, 1957, on NBC's comedy variety series, The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford.[12] Near the end of the decade, he made a cameo appearance in Welles'sTouch of Evil (1958) and a starring role in the film adaptation of Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon (also 1958). He also appeared as Dick Burlingame and Charles Lawrence in the 1960 episodes "The Blue Goose" and "Dark Fear" of CBS's anthology series The DuPont Show with June Allyson. He also appeared on NBC's anthology series, The Barbara Stanwyck Show.

The 1960s and 1970s[edit]

Joseph Cotten and Patricia Medina in 1973

In 1960, Cotten married British actress Patricia Medina after his first wife, Lenore Kipp, died of leukemia earlier in the year,[13] after some time away from film, Cotten returned in the horror classic Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), with Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland and Agnes Moorehead. The rest of the decade found Cotten in a number of European and Japanese productions, B-movies and made for television movies, he made multiple guest appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1967, he joined Karl Swenson, Pat Conway, and Dick Foran in the nostalgic western dramatic film Brighty of the Grand Canyon, about a burro who lived in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River from about 1892–1922. On television, he narrated David L. Wolper's documentary Hollywood and the Stars (1963–64). In 1968 he made a guest appearance in a two-part episode of the series Ironside ("Split Second to an Epitaph").

In the early 1970s, Cotten followed a supporting role in Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) with several horror features: The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) with Vincent Price, and Soylent Green (1973), the last film featuring Edward G. Robinson. Later in the decade, Cotten was in several all-star disaster films, including Airport '77 (1977) with James Stewart and again with Olivia de Havilland, and the nuclear thriller Twilight's Last Gleaming (1977). On television, he did guest spots on The Rockford Files ("This Case Is Closed", 1974) and The Love Boat.

Last years[edit]

One of Cotten's last films was the box-office bomb Heaven's Gate (1980), at the time critically mauled in the United States but well received abroad, the film was positively re-evaluated early in the 21st century, receiving a Criterion Collection release in 2013.

He appeared in two episodes of a twist-in-the-tale episode of the British television series Tales of the Unexpected, with Wendy Hiller (1979), and Gloria Grahame (1980). He also appeared in three horror films, The Hearse (1980), Delusion (also known as The House Where Death Lives) (1980), and the Australian film The Survivor (1981). Cotten suffered a stroke in 1981 which caused him to temporarily lose his voice.[14]

Illness and death[edit]

On June 8, 1981, Cotten experienced a heart attack followed by a stroke that affected his brain's speech center, he began years of therapy which in time made it possible for him to speak again. As he began to recover, he and Orson Welles talked on the phone each week for a couple of hours. "He was strong and supportive," Cotten wrote, "and whenever I used the wrong word (which was frequently) he would say, 'That's a much better word, Jo, I'm going to use it.'" He and Welles would meet for lunch and reminisce, and when Cotten said he had written a book Welles asked for the manuscript and read it that same night.[2]:215–217 In a phone conversation on October 9, 1985, Welles told his friend and mentor Roger Hill that Cotten had written a book, and Hill asked how it read. "Gentle, witty, and self-effacing, just like Jo," Welles replied. "My only complaint is that it's too brief."[15] Welles died the following day. "Somewhere among his possessions is a manuscript of this book," Cotten wrote on the last page of his autobiography, published in 1987 under the title Vanity Will Get You Somewhere.[2]:217[16]

In 1990, Cotten's larynx was removed due to cancer,[1] he died on February 6, 1994, of pneumonia, at the age of 88.[13] He was buried at Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg, Virginia.[17]


Joseph Cotten received a Venice Film Festival Award for Best Actor for his work in Portrait of Jennie.

Cultural references[edit]

In the film, Me and Orson Welles (2008), Cotten is portrayed by James Tupper.[18]

In the first season of the television series Feud (2017), which depicts the filming of Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte, Cotten is portrayed by Matthew Glave.

Theatre credits[edit]

Date Title Role Notes
October 17, 1932 – January 1933 Absent Father Larry Vanderbilt Theatre, New York[19]
December 19, 1933 – January 1934 Jezebel Dick Ashley Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York[19]
February 4 – February 1934 Loose Moments Ralph Merkes Vanderbilt Theatre, New York[19]
September 26 – December 5, 1936 Horse Eats Hat Freddy Maxine Elliott Theatre, New York[5]:334
January 8 – April 1, 1937 Faustus 2nd Scholar Maxine Elliott Theatre, New York[5]:335–336
April 21–23, 1937 The Second Hurricane Airplane pilot[20]:33 Henry Street Settlement, New York City[5]:337
November 11, 1937 – May 28, 1938 Caesar Publius Mercury Theatre, New York[5]:339–340
Moved to the larger National Theatre January 24, 1938[5]:341[21]
December 25, 1937 The Shoemaker's Holiday Rowland Lacy Mercury Theatre, New York
Surprise preview performance immediately following Caesar[22]:332
January 1 – April 28, 1938 The Shoemaker's Holiday Rowland Lacy Mercury Theatre, New York
Moved to the National Theatre January 26, 1938[5]:341
August 16–29, 1938 Too Much Johnson Augustus Billings Stony Creek Theatre, Stony Creek, Connecticut[23][24]:50–51, 152–153
November 2–19, 1938 Danton's Death Barrere Mercury Theatre, New York[25][26]
March 28, 1939 – March 30, 1940 The Philadelphia Story C. K. Dexter Haven Shubert Theatre, New York[19]
November 11, 1953 – August 21, 1954 Sabrina Fair Linus Larrabee, Jr. National Theatre, New York
Moved to the Royale Theatre May 17, 1954[19]

Radio credits[edit]

Date Title Role Notes
1934 The American School of the Air Repertory cast [5]:331
July 14 – September 22, 1935 America's Hour Repertory cast [27]:30
1935 Farm Tenancy Resettlement Administration drama[28][29]
November 14, 1936 Columbia Workshop "Hamlet"[30]
May 9, 1937 The Second Hurricane Airplane pilot One-hour broadcast on CBS Radio[20]:34
September 5, 1938 The Mercury Theatre on the Air Dr. Bull "The Man Who Was Thursday"[5]:345[31]:50
October 9, 1938 The Mercury Theatre on the Air "Hell on Ice"[5]:346[32]
October 16, 1938 The Mercury Theatre on the Air Genesis "Seventeen"[5]:346[31]:52
December 3, 1938 The Campbell Playhouse Fred "A Christmas Carol"[5]:348[31]:53[33][34]
January 6, 1939 The Campbell Playhouse "Counsellor-at-Law"[5]:348[33][34]
January 13, 1939 The Campbell Playhouse Fletcher Christian "Mutiny on the Bounty"[5]:349[33][34]
January 20, 1939 The Campbell Playhouse "The Chicken Wagon Family"[5]:349
January 27, 1939 The Campbell Playhouse Riley "I Lost My Girlish Laughter"[31]:53[33][34]
September 17, 1939 The Campbell Playhouse "Ah, Wilderness!"[5]:354[33][34]
October 22, 1939 The Campbell Playhouse The Cashier "Liliom"[31]:58[33][34]
1939–40 The Career of Alice Blair Male lead [27]:138–139[35]
February 11, 1940 The Campbell Playhouse "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town"[31]:61[33][34]
September 22, 1941 Lux Radio Theatre Michael Fitzpatrick "Lydia"[36]
October 6, 1941 Orson Welles Show [5]:367
October 13, 1941 Orson Welles Show [5]:367[37]
October 20, 1941 Orson Welles Show [5]:367
November 10, 1941 Orson Welles Show [5]:367
December 1, 1941 Orson Welles Show [5]:368
December 7, 1941 Orson Welles Show [5]:368
December 22, 1941 Orson Welles Show [5]:368
December 29, 1941 Orson Welles Show [5]:368
March 22, 1942 The Silver Theatre Jim Emerson "Only Yesterday"[38]
November 23, 1942 Ceiling Unlimited "The Navigator"[5]:375
December 21, 1942 Ceiling Unlimited "Gremlins"[5]:374[39][40]
December 28, 1942 Ceiling Unlimited "Pan American Airlines"[40]
January 17, 1943 Hello Americans "Feed the World"[5]:376[41]
February 1, 1943 Cavalcade of America "To the Shores of Tripoli"[42][43]
May 24, 1943 The Screen Guild Theater Uncle Charlie "Shadow of a Doubt"[44][45]
June 28, 1943 Lux Radio Theatre "The Great Man's Lady"[36]
August 8, 1943 – April 30, 1944 America — Ceiling Unlimited Host Weekly half-hour variety series[40][46][47]
December 6, 1943 The Screen Guild Theater Jim Emerson "Only Yesterday"[44][45]
March 23, 1944 Suspense "Sneak Preview"[48][49][50]
May 8, 1944 Lux Radio Theatre Roger Adams "Penny Serenade"[36]
June 5, 1944 Cavalcade of America "Treason"[42][43]
September 14, 1944 Suspense "You'll Never See Me Again"[48][50]
November 6, 1944 Democratic National Committee Program Election-eve political broadcast[51][52]
November 13, 1944 The Screen Guild Theater Johnny Case "Holiday"[44][45]
November 26, 1944 The Harold Lloyd Comedy Theatre "Clarence"[53]
February 1, 1945 Suspense "The Most Dangerous Game"[48][50]
February 6, 1945 A Date with Judy Guest "The Strange Case of Joseph Cotten"[54]
April 30, 1945 The Screen Guild Theater Alessandro "Ramona"[44][45]
June 4, 1945 Lux Radio Theatre Holger Brandt "Intermezzo"[36]
June 15, 1945 Weapon for Tomorrow "Freedom of Information"[55]
September 18, 1945 Theater of Romance Nathan Hale "One Life to Lose"[56]
September 20, 1945 The Birdseye Open House Guest [57]
September 27, 1945 Suspense "The Earth Is Made of Glass"[48][50]
October 11, 1945 Suspense "Beyond Good and Evil"[48][50]
November 26, 1945 The Screen Guild Theater Richard Kurt "Biography of a Bachelor Girl"[44][45]
December 24, 1945 Lux Radio Theatre Zachary Morgan "I'll Be Seeing You"[36]
January 17, 1946 Suspense "The Pasteboard Box"[48][50]
February 10, 1946 The Radio Reader's Digest "Ultimate Security"[58]
April 22, 1946 Lux Radio Theatre Alan Quinton "Love Letters"[36]
May 2, 1946 Suspense "Crime Without Passion"[48][50]
July 24, 1946 Academy Award Theatre "Foreign Correspondent"[59][60]
September 11, 1946 Academy Award Theatre "Shadow of a Doubt"[59][60]
September 24, 1946 The Cresta Blanca Hollywood Players Lou Gehrig "The Pride of the Yankees"[61]
October 1, 1946 The Cresta Blanca Hollywood Players Max de Winter "Rebecca"[61]
November 4, 1946 Lux Radio Theatre "I've Always Loved You"[36][62]
December 5, 1946 The Radio Reader's Digest "The Hard-Boiled Reporter and the Miracle"[58]
December 16, 1946 The Screen Guild Theater Michael "This Love of Ours"[44][45][63]
December 19, 1946 Suspense "The Thing in the Window"[48][50]
December 25, 1946 The Cresta Blanca Hollywood Players "All Through the House"[61]
January 27, 1947 The Screen Guild Theater "Swell Guy"[44]
March 5, 1947 The Eagle's Brood Documentary on juvenile delinquency[64][65]
May 15, 1947 The Radio Reader's Digest "Halfway to Reno"[58]
May 19, 1947 Cavalcade of America "Witness by Moonlight"[42][43]
September 15, 1947 Lux Radio Theatre Nicholas "The Seventh Veil"[36]
October 26, 1947 Hollywood Fights Back [66]
January 5, 1948 Lux Radio Theatre Glenn Morley "The Farmer's Daughter"[36][67]
January 26, 1948 Lux Radio Theatre Devlin "Notorious"[36][67]
February 12, 1948 The Radio Reader's Digest "The Baron of Arizona"[58]
March 8, 1948 Lux Radio Theatre John Ballantyne "Spellbound"[36][67]
April 11, 1948 The Eternal Light "The Man Who Remembered Lincoln"[68]
June 21, 1948 The Screen Guild Theater Uncle Charlie "Shadow of a Doubt"[45][69]
May 9, 1949 Lux Radio Theatre Anthony Keane "The Paradine Case"[36]
May 15, 1949 The Prudential Family Hour of Stars "Breakdown"[70]
June 30, 1949 Suspense "The Day I Died"[48][50]
October 24, 1946 Screen Directors Playhouse Alan Quinton "Love Letters"[71]
October 31, 1949 Lux Radio Theatre Eben Adams "Portrait of Jennie"[36]
March 10, 1950 Screen Directors Playhouse Eben Adams "Portrait of Jennie"[71]
March 15, 1950 Family Theater "Germelshausen"[72]
March 30, 1950 Suspense "Blood Sacrifice"[48][50]
June 11, 1950 Guest Star "Portrait of a Small Gentleman"[73]
September 28, 1950 Suspense "Fly by Night"[48][50]
October 9, 1950 Hollywood Star Playhouse "Of Night and the River"[74][75]
November 30, 1950 Screen Directors Playhouse "Mrs. Mike"[71]
January 2, 1951 Cavalcade of America "An American from France"[42][43]
January 7, 1951 Theatre Guild on the Air Holly Martins "The Third Man"[76][77]
January 25, 1951 Screen Directors Playhouse "Spellbound"[71]
February 15, 1951 Hallmark Playhouse "A Man for All Ages"[78]
April 9, 1951 Lux Radio Theatre Holly Martins "The Third Man"[36][79]
September 30, 1951 Theatre Guild on the Air "Main Street"[80]
October 2, 1951 Philip Morris Playhouse on Broadway "Angel Street"[81]
October 18, 1951 Hallmark Playhouse "Cashel Byron's Profession"[78]
November 5, 1951 Suspense "The Trials of Thomas Shaw"[82]
January 24, 1952 Stars in the Air "Enchantment"[83]
January 28, 1952 Suspense "Carnival"[48][50]
January 31, 1952 Hallmark Playhouse "Westward Ho"[78]
March 6, 1952 Hallmark Playhouse "Man Without a Home"[78]
March 10, 1952 Suspense "A Watery Grave"[48][50][84]
March 16, 1952 Philip Morris Playhouse on Broadway "In a Lonely Place"[81][84][85]
March 27, 1952 The Screen Guild Theater "Night Must Fall"[86]
September 7, 1952 Hollywood Star Playhouse "The Tenth Planet"[74][75]
September 14, 1952 Theatre Guild On the Air "The Wisteria Tree"[76]
October 12, 1952 Hallmark Playhouse "Young Mr. Disraeli"[78]
December 22, 1952 Suspense "Arctic Rescue"[48][50][87]
December 28, 1952 Hallmark Playhouse "A Man Called Peter"[78][88]
January 11, 1953 Theatre Guild On the Air "Jane"[76]
January 14, 1953 Philip Morris Playhouse on Broadway "Hold Back the Dawn"[81][89]
January 18, 1953 Theatre Guild on the Air "Trial by Forgery"[80][89]
January 26, 1953 Lux Radio Theatre David Lawrence "September Affair"[36]
March 1, 1953 The Bakers' Theater of Stars "The Mango Tree"[90][91]
March 30, 1953 Suspense "Tom Dooley"[48][50]
June 16, 1953 The Martin and Lewis Show Guest [92]
July 6, 1953 Lux Radio Theatre Jim Warlock "Cynara"[36][93]
August 3, 1953 Lux Radio Theatre "Romance to a Degree"[36]
August 26, 1953 Philip Morris Playhouse on Broadway "Love Letters"[81]
September 14, 1953 Lux Radio Theatre Jim Osborne "The Steel Trap"[36]
October 14, 1953 Radio Playhouse Narrator "Routine Assignment"[94]
October 24, 1953 The Grand Alliance United Nations Day broadcast[95]
May 15, 1954 Salute to Eugene O'Neill Narrator All-star benefit for cerebral palsy[96]
December 15, 1957 Suspense "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"[48][50]
August 2, 1959 Suspense "Red Cloud Mesa"[48][50]

Film and television credits[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1938 Too Much Johnson Augustus Billings [97]
1940 Citizen Kane trailer Himself, Jedediah "Jed" Leland Short[5]:360
1941 Citizen Kane Jed Leland / Screening Room Reporter [98]
1941 Lydia Michael Fitzpatrick [98]
1942 The Magnificent Ambersons Eugene Morgan [98]
1943 Shadow of a Doubt Uncle Charles Oakley [98]
1943 Journey into Fear Howard Graham Screenplay (with uncredited Orson Welles)[98]
1943 Hers to Hold Bill Morley [98]
1944 Gaslight Brian Cameron [98]
1944 Since You Went Away Lieutenant Tony Willett [98]
1945 I'll Be Seeing You Zachary Morgan [98]
1945 Love Letters Alan Quinton [98]
1946 Duel in the Sun Jesse McCanles [98]
1947 The Farmer's Daughter Glenn Morley [98]
1948 Portrait of Jennie Eben Adams Venice Film Festival Award for Best Actor[98]
1949 The Third Man Holly Martins [98]
1949 Under Capricorn Sam Flusky [98]
1949 Beyond the Forest Dr. Lewis Moline [98]
1950 September Affair David Lawrence [98]
1950 Two Flags West Col. Clay Tucker [98]
1950 Walk Softly, Stranger Chris Hale Shot in 1948[98]
1951 Half Angel John Raymond, Jr. [98]
1951 Peking Express Michael Bachlin [98]
1951 The Man with a Cloak Dupin [98]
1951 Othello Venetian senator Uncredited [98]
1952 The Wild Heart Narrator [98]
1952 Untamed Frontier Kirk Denbow [98]
1952 The Steel Trap James Osborne [98]
1953 Niagara George Loomis [98]
1953 A Blueprint for Murder Whitney Cameron [98]
1954 Light's Diamond Jubilee (TV) Himself Broadcast on all four U.S. TV networks
1954 Producers' Showcase (TV) Grant Matthews "State of the Union"
1954 General Electric Theater (TV) Hanley "The High Green Wall"
1955 Special Delivery John Adams [98]
1955 The Best of Broadway (TV) Dan McCorn "Broadway"
1955 Celebrity Playhouse (TV) Marshal Fenton Lockhart "Showdown at San Pablo"
1955 Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV) William Callew "Breakdown"
1955–1956 Star Stage (TV) Narrator
Alexander Holmes
"The Man in the Black Robe"
"The U.S. vs. Alexander Holmes"
1956 The Bottom of the Bottle P.M. Martin [98]
1956 The Ford Television Theatre (TV) John Ashburn "Man Without a Fear"
1956 The Killer Is Loose Detective Sam Wagner [98]
1956 General Electric Theater (TV) Captain
Private Harris
"H.M.S. Marlborough Will Enter Port"
"The Enemies"
1956–1959 The Joseph Cotten Show (TV) Various roles
1957 The Halliday Brand Daniel Halliday [98]
1957 Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theater (TV) Bruce Malone "Contact"
1957 Telephone Time (TV) Lt. Cmdr. Joseph P. Fyffe "The Man the Navy Couldn't Sink"
1957 Playhouse 90 (TV) Robert Rainey "The Edge of Innocence"
1957 The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show (TV)
1957 Schlitz Playhouse (TV) "Neighbors"
1958 Zane Grey Theatre (TV) Ben Harper "Man Unforgiving"
1958 Suspicion (TV) Gregg Carey "The Eye of Truth"
1958 Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV) Tony Gould "Together"
1958 Touch of Evil Coroner Uncredited[98]
1958 From the Earth to the Moon Victor Barbicane [98]
1959 Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse (TV) Black McSween "The Day the Town Stood Up"
1959 Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV) Courtney Masterson "Dead Weight"
1960 The Angel Wore Red Hawthorne [98]
1960 The DuPont Show with June Allyson (TV) Dick Burlingame
Charles Lawrence
"The Blue Goose"
"Dark Fear"
1960 Checkmate (TV) Dr. George Mallinson "Face in the Window"
1961 The Barbara Stanwyck Show (TV) Mac McClay "The Hitch-Hiker"
1961 The Last Sunset John Breckenridge [98]
1961 Bus Stop (TV) Professor Wheelright "Cherie"
1961 Theatre '62 (TV) Alex Sebastian "Notorious"
1961 Wagon Train (TV) Captain Dan Brady "The Captain Dan Brady Story"
1962 Dr. Kildare (TV) Charles Ladovan "The Administrator"
1962 Saints and Sinners (TV) Preston Cooper "The Man on the Rim"
1961 Wagon Train (TV) John Augustus "The John Augustus Story"
1963 The Great Adventure (TV) Captain Meehan "The Death of Sitting Bull"
"The Massacre at Wounded Knee"
1963 77 Sunset Strip (TV) Arnold Buhler "By His Own Verdict"
1963–1964 Hollywood and the Stars (TV) Narrator
1964 Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte Dr. Drew Bayliss [98]
1965 The Great Sioux Massacre Major Reno [98]
1965 The Money Trap Dr. Horace Van Tilden [98]
1965 The Tramplers Temple Cordeen [98]
1966 The Oscar Kenneth H. Regan [98]
1966 The Hellbenders Col. Jonas [98]
1967 Brighty of the Grand Canyon Jim Owen [98]
1967 Cimarron Strip (TV) Nathan Tio "The Search"
1967 Jack of Diamonds Ace of Diamonds [98]
1967 Some May Live Col. Woodward
1968 Alexander the Great (TV) Antigonus
1968 Days of Fire Destil
1968 Petulia Mr. Danner [98]
1968 Ironside (TV) Dr. Benjamin Stern "Split Second to an Epitaph"
1968 It Takes a Thief (TV) Col. Heinrich "Hans Across the Border"[99]
1968 Journey to the Unknown (TV) "Do Me a Favour and Kill Me" (UK)[100]
1968 White Comanche Sheriff Logan
1969 Latitude Zero Capt. Craig McKenzie [98]
1969 The Lonely Profession (TV) Martin Bannister
1969 Keene
1969–1970 It Takes a Thief (TV) Mr. Jack "To Lure a Man"
"To Sing a Song of Murder"
"Beyond a Reasonable Doubt"[101]
1970 Cutter's Trail (TV) General Spalding
1970 The Name of the Game (TV) Henry Worthington Rayner "The King of Denmark"
1970 The Grasshopper Richard Morgan [98]
1970 Tora! Tora! Tora! Henry L. Stimson [98]
1970 The Virginian (TV) Judge Will McMasters
Judge Hobbs
"A Time of Terror"
"Gun Quest"
1971 Assault on the Wayne (TV) Admiral
1971 Do You Take This Stranger? (TV) Dr. Robert Carson
1971 City Beneath the Sea (TV) Dr. Ziegler
1971 NET Playhouse (TV) Narrator "Trail of Tears"
1971 The Abominable Dr. Phibes Dr. Vesalius [98]
1971 Lady Frankenstein Dr. Frankenstein
1972 The Screaming Woman (TV) George Tresvant
1972 Doomsday Voyage Captain Jason [98]
1972 Baron Blood Baron Otto von Kleist / Alfred Becker
1972 The Scientific Cardplayer George
1973 The Devil's Daughter (TV) Judge Weatherby
1973 The Streets of San Francisco (TV) John R. James "A Collection of Eagles"
1973 Soylent Green William R. Simonson [98]
1973 A Delicate Balance Harry [98]
1973 F for Fake Special Participant
1974 The Rockford Files (TV) Warner Jameson "This Case is Closed"
1975 Syndicate Sadists Paternò
1975 Timber Tramps Greedy sawmill mogul
1976 Freedom Is (TV) Voice
1976 The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case (TV) Dr. Condon
1976 A Whisper in the Dark The Professor
1976 Origins of the Mafia (TV) The Envoy "Gli antenati"
1977 Twilight's Last Gleaming Secretary of State Arthur Renfrew [98]
1977 Airport '77 Nicholas St. Downs III [98]
1977 Aspen (TV) Horton Paine
1978 The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (TV) Weldon Rathbone "Arson and Old Lace"
1978 Last In, First Out Foster Johnson
1978 Caravans Ambassador Crandall [98]
1978 The Perfect Crime Sir Arthur Dundee
1978 Fantasy Island (TV) Simon Grant "Return to Fantasy Island"
1979 Island of the Fishmen Prof. Ernest Marvin
1979 The Concorde Affair Milland
1979 Guyana: Crime of the Century Richard Gable
1979 Churchill and the Generals (TV) General George Marshall
1979 Fantasy Island (TV) Thomas Cummings "The Wedding"
1979–1980 Tales of the Unexpected (TV) Edward
"Edward the Conqueror"
"Depart in Peace"
1980 The Hearse Walter Pritchard [98]
1980 Casino (TV) Ed Booker
1980 Heaven's Gate The Reverend Doctor [98]
1980 Delusion Ivar Langrock
1981 The Love Boat (TV) Col. van Ryker "The Duel"
Two for Julie"
"Aunt Hilly"
1981 The Survivor Priest (final film role)


  1. ^ a b Oliver, Myrna (February 7, 1994). "Debonair Actor Joseph Cotten Dies at 88". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-03-09. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Cotten, Joseph (1987). Vanity Will Get You Somewhere. San Francisco: Mercury House. ISBN 0-916515-17-6. 
  3. ^ Biskind, Peter; Jaglom, Henry; Welles, Orson (2013). My Lunches with Orson: Conversations between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles. New York: Metropolitan Books. ISBN 978-0-8050-9725-2. 
  4. ^ Leaming, Barbara (1985). Orson Welles. New York City: Viking Penguin Inc. p. 114. ISBN 0-670-52895-1. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad Welles, Orson; Bogdanovich, Peter (1992). Jonathan Rosenbaum, ed. This is Orson Welles. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-016616-9. 
  6. ^ Kehr, Dave (August 7, 2013). "Early Film by Orson Welles Is Rediscovered". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  7. ^ Whaley, Barton, Orson Welles: The Man Who Was Magic., 2005,
  8. ^ Biskind, Peter, ed. (2013). My Lunches with Orson: Conversations Between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles. Macmillan. 
  9. ^ "Bing Crosby Again Box-Office Leader: Van Johnson Second in Film Poll of Exhibitors – Rogers Wins for Westerns". The New York Times. December 28, 1945. p. 21.
  10. ^ "Sabrina Fair". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  11. ^ Becker, Christine (October 1, 2005). "Televising Film Stardom in the 1950s". Framework. Retrieved 21 January 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (Subscription required (help)). 
  12. ^ "The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show, May 2, 1957". Retrieved 2014-05-21. 
  13. ^ a b Flint, Peter B. (February 7, 1994). "Joseph Cotten, 88, Is Dead; Actor on Stage and in Films". The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  14. ^ Actor winning battle against stroke
  15. ^ Tarbox, Todd (2013). Orson Welles and Roger Hill: A Friendship in Three Acts. Albany, Georgia: BearManor Media. p. 289. ISBN 1-59393-260-X. 
  16. ^ "'Citizen Kane' star releases witty, irreverent autobiography". The Tuscaloosa News. Associated Press. June 7, 1987. p. 13C. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  17. ^ "Joseph Cotten – Petersburg, Virginia". 
  18. ^ McCarthy, Todd (September 6, 2008). "Film Review: Me and Orson Welles". Variety. Retrieved 2015-09-07. 
  19. ^ a b c d e "Joseph Cotten". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  20. ^ a b Anderson, Arthur (2010). An Actor's Odyssey. Albany, Georgia: BearManor Media. ISBN 9781593935221. 
  21. ^ "News of the Stage; 'Julius Caesar' Closes Tonight". The New York Times. May 28, 1938. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  22. ^ Houseman, John (1972). Run-Through: A Memoir. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-21034-3. 
  23. ^ "Too Much Johnson: Becoming Orson Welles". Movie Morlocks (blog), Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  24. ^ Wood, Bret, Orson Welles: A Bio-Bibliography. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1990 ISBN 0-313-26538-0
  25. ^ "Danton's Death". Playbill. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  26. ^ "News of the Stage". The New York Times. November 18, 1938. Retrieved 2015-09-04. 
  27. ^ a b Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. 
  28. ^ "Resettlement Administration". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  29. ^ "Public Service". Internet Archive. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  30. ^ "The Columbia Workshop". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  31. ^ a b c d e f Orson Welles on the Air: The Radio Years. Catalogue for exhibition October 28 – December 3, 1988. New York: The Museum of Broadcasting. 1988. 
  32. ^ "The Mercury Theatre". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  33. ^ a b c d e f g "The Campbell Playhouse". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  34. ^ a b c d e f g "The Campbell Playhouse". Internet Archive. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  35. ^ "(photo caption)". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. June 5, 1940. p. 22. Retrieved March 18, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  36. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "The Lux Radio Theatre". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  37. ^ "1941 Orson Welles Show". Internet Archive. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  38. ^ "The Silver Theatre". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  39. ^ "Ceiling Unlimited". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  40. ^ a b c "Ceiling Unlimited". Internet Archive. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  41. ^ "Hello Americans Singles [10]". Internet Archive. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  42. ^ a b c d "The Cavalcade of America". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  43. ^ a b c d "Cavalcade of America". Internet Archive. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  44. ^ a b c d e f g "The Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  45. ^ a b c d e f g "Screen Guild Theater". Internet Archive. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  46. ^ Old Time Radio log for Ceiling Unlimited
  47. ^ The Digital Deli listing for Ceiling Unlimited Archived April 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  48. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Suspense". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  49. ^ "Suspense". Internet Archive. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  50. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Suspense". Internet Archive. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  51. ^ "Democratic National Committee Program". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  52. ^ "1944 Radio News". Internet Archive. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  53. ^ "The Harold Lloyd Comedy Theatre". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  54. ^ "A Date with Judy". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  55. ^ "Weapon for Tomorrow". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  56. ^ "Theatre of Romance". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  57. ^ "Birds Eye Open House". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  58. ^ a b c d "The Radio Reader's Digest". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  59. ^ a b "Academy Award Theatre". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  60. ^ a b "Academy Award". Internet Archive. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  61. ^ a b c "Cresta Blanca Hollywood Players". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  62. ^ "Radio Debut". Harrisburg Telegraph. November 2, 1946. p. 19. Retrieved September 28, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  63. ^ "Oberon, Cotten Star on "Guild"". Harrisburg Telegraph. December 14, 1946. p. 17. Retrieved September 11, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  64. ^ Gould, Jack (March 9, 1947). "CBS Documentary Deals With Delinquency". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-11-08. 
  65. ^ "The Eagle's Brook". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  66. ^ "Hollywood Fights Back". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  67. ^ a b c "Lux Radio Theatre 1948". Internet Archive. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  68. ^ "The Eternal Light". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  69. ^ "The Camel Screen Guild Theatre". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  70. ^ "The Prudential Family Hour of Stars". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  71. ^ a b c d "Screen Directors Playhouse". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  72. ^ "Family Theatre". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  73. ^ "Guest Star". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  74. ^ a b "Hollywood Star Playhouse". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  75. ^ a b "Hollywood Star Playhouse". Internet Archive. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  76. ^ a b c "The Theatre Guild On the Air". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  77. ^ "Theatre Guild On the Air". Internet Archive. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  78. ^ a b c d e f "Hallmark Playhouse". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  79. ^ "Lux Radio Theatre 1951". Internet Archive. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  80. ^ a b "Theatre Guild On the Air". The Digital Deli Too. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  81. ^ a b c d "The Philip Morris Playhouse On Broadway". The Digital Deli Too. Archived from the original on August 11, 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  82. ^ "On the Radio". The New York Times. November 5, 1951. Retrieved 2015-11-08. 
  83. ^ "Stars in the Air". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  84. ^ a b Kirby, Walter (March 16, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 44. Retrieved May 23, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  85. ^ "The Philip Morris Playhouse On Broadway". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  86. ^ "The Screen Guild Theatre". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  87. ^ Kirby, Walter (December 21, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 44. Retrieved June 8, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  88. ^ "Hallmark Playhouse". Internet Archive. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  89. ^ a b Kirby, Walter (January 11, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 42. Retrieved June 19, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  90. ^ "The Bakers' Theatre of Stars". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  91. ^ Kirby, Walter (March 1, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 46. Retrieved June 23, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  92. ^ "The Martin and Lewis Show". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  93. ^ Kirby, Walter (July 5, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 40. Retrieved July 5, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  94. ^ Kirby, Walter (October 11, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 50. Retrieved July 6, 2015 – via open access publication – free to read
  95. ^ "The Grand Alliance". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  96. ^ "Salute to Eugene O'Neill". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  97. ^ "Too Much Johnson Work Print". National Film Preservation Foundation. Retrieved 2016-04-01. 
  98. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be "Joseph Cotten". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2016-05-18. 
  99. ^ "It Takes a Thief, Season 2". Classic Film and TV Archive. Retrieved 2016-08-19. 
  100. ^ "Journey to the Unknown". Classic Film and TV Archive. Retrieved 2016-08-19. 
  101. ^ "It Takes a Thief, Season 3". Classic Film and TV Archive. Retrieved 2016-08-19. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]