Pisces Mar 04, 1916 Delmar Actor, Director, Producer and Writer
William Alland 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.
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' The War of the Worlds. Alland won a Peabody Award as producer of Doorway to Life.
Alland's role as reporter Jerry Thompson in Citizen Kane 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.
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" by Tom Weaver.