William Alland

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William Alland
Born (1916-03-04)March 4, 1916
Delmar, Delaware, U.S.
Died November 11, 1997(1997-11-11) (aged 81)
Long Beach, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, director, producer, writer
Years active c.1938—1966

William Alland (March 4, 1916 – November 11, 1997) was an American actor, producer, writer and director of science fiction and western films. As an actor, he played the reporter who investigates the life of the newspaper tycoon in Orson Welle's Citizen Kane (1941).

In his early 20s, he arrived in Manhattan and took courses at the Henry Street Settlement House, where he met Orson Welles. He also lent his voice to Welles's The War of the Worlds. Alland won a Peabody Award as producer of Doorway to Life.[1]

Alland's role as reporter Jerry Thompson in Citizen Kane (1941) is unusual because the camera never closes up on his face; in fact, for the majority of his scenes in the film, he shows his back to the camera, and whenever his face can be seen, it is always in long-shot and almost always clouded in shadow. As noted by film critic Roger Ebert on the DVD commentary of Citizen Kane, Alland once reportedly told an entire audience of people that they would probably recognize him if he were to show his back to them. Additionally, in Citizen Kane he also voiced the Newsreel Announcer in the "News on the March" segment, a spoof of the then-popular March of Time newsreels. In later years, Alland twice provided voiceovers for pastiches of this News on the March segment; once for the 1974 Orson Welles film F for Fake, and again for a 1991 Arena documentary for the BBC, The Complete Citizen Kane. F for Fake had a News on the March pastiche showing what the opening of Citizen Kane would have looked like if it had been modelled on Howard Hughes rather than William Randolph Hearst, while The Complete Citizen Kane has a pastiche of News on the March about Orson Welles making Citizen Kane, rather than about the death of Charles Foster Kane.

Behind the camera, his greatest fame came from producing science fiction movies at Universal and Paramount in the 1950s. His sci-fi producing career is the subject of a 60-page interview in the book "Monsters, Mutants and Heavenly Creatures" (Midnight Marquee Press, 1996) by Tom Weaver.

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