The term “genius” is perhaps applied a bit too liberally when we, as fans of film and television, discuss the people we admire and their works. But it’s a word that doesn’t do justice to Orson Welles. An unparalleled talent of stage, radio, and silver screen, the man left an indelible impression on each medium. In 1938, he conducted the most infamous radio broadcast of all time, an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds that, because of its ‘news bulletin’ format, led many listeners to believe an actual alien invasion was underway. A few years later, still in his mid-20s, he wrote, directed, and starred in Citizen Kane, often lauded as the greatest cinematic achievement of all time. And let’s not forget: he was the voice of Unicron in 1986’s The Transformers: The Movie. Hit the jump for more, and to watch the final interview of Welles’ life recorded hours before his death.
On October 10, 1985, at the age of 70, he gave his final television interview on The Merv Griffin Show mere hours before succumbing to a heart attack at his Los Angeles home. In the clip, which lasts 9:44, Welles is engaging and quick-witted as ever, but there’s a hint of the tragic at times as he’s compelled to discuss his lost youth, lost love and the “painful times” of his past. Of course, whenever a man like this speaks, we all do well to listen.