As mentioned in yesterday’s blog, he was the lovelorn sidekick in The Third Man, memorably snubbed by Alida Valli.
He was Jennifer Jones’ romantic esthete-hero in Portrait of Jennie, Teresa Wright’s serial killer uncle in Shadow of a Doubt and Ingrid Bergman’s class-bound husband in Under Capricorn.
But most of all, he played key roles in two Orson Welles masterpieces: the conscience of Charles Foster Kane in Citizen Kane and the philosophical inventor in The Magnificent Ambersons.
In short, over a career that lasted four decades, Joseph Cotten has been a conspicuous presence in some of the very best movies ever made — ever.
Yet, just how much do you know about the actor?
We challenged you yesterday to take our Joseph Cotten Quiz — and we hope you did so mirthfully. (Scroll down to yesterday’s blog for the questions. And return here for our answers.) Ok, here we go:
1) Answer — True. Cotten hadn’t made a movie before 1941, but certainly had worked with Orson Welles in theater and on radio. Wrote Cotten: “When I first met Orson, he was a free soul, having just lost the binding title of Child Prodigy during adolescence, and having not yet had the more mature title of Genius thrust upon him.”
2) Answer: 1943’s Journey Into Fear, a thriller based on an Eric Ambler novel. Cotten and Welles costarred (along with the delightful Dolores del Rio), and they co-wrote the screenplay with the help of at least two polishers (one was Ben Hecht). The picture is a beauty, one of our favorites.
3) Answer: Columnist Hedda Hopper, who printed an item that the married Cotten was having an affair with a young Deanna Durbin. The infuriated actor caught up with Hopper sitting at a formal dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and kicked her “in the ass.” He described it as “not a boot that would have carried a football over the crossbar, but neither was it a token tap.”
4) Answer: c). Cotten said he enjoyed working with Marilyn Monroe in Niagra, but that “suddenly her focus would move into outer space” in the middle of scenes “and recovery was not always easy for her.”
5) Answer: b) and c). Lenore La Mont wasn’t an actress but a pianist, and was married to Cotten for almost 30 years until her death in 1960. Actress Patricia Medina was his second wife, from 1960 until his death in 1994. The couple in their time was one of Hollywood’s most social and sought-after duos.
6) Answer: 1980’s Heaven’s Gate directed by Michael Cimino. The picture was a dismal flop initially but has picked up fans over the years. Cotten played “the Reverend Doctor.”
7) Answer: c) Tidewater, Virginia.
8) Answer: c) David Selznick. The producer not only signed Cotten to a long-term contract but loaned him out to other studios for some of his best pictures. He and the “Gone With The Wind” producer became close personally, and Selznick was a guest at Cotten’s wedding to Medina.
9) Answer: If we can believe Cotten, the answer is b). Not that he wasn’t attracted to Ingrid Bergman. The pair socialized offscreen despite being married to others. Cotten admits he was tempted, but that was it.
10) Answer: False. Welles and Cotten had a lively friendship, often clashing over this and that. But they remained friends until their respective deaths.