Mostly Credited As: Joseph Cotten
Birth Name: Joseph Cheshire Cotten
Date Of Birth: May 15, 1905 (Age 88)
Country Of Birth: USA
Birth Place: Petersburg, Virginia
Date Of Death: February 06, 1994
Cause Of Death: Pneumonia (Westwood, California, USA)
Height: 6' 2" (1.87 m)
As a child, Joseph Cheshire Cotten enjoyed putting on performances for his family. After studying at the Hickman School of Expression in Washington, D.C., he set out for New York in 1924 intent on a career on the stage. Instead he found himself working as a shipping clerk. Discouraged, he moved to Florida where he worked a variety of jobs including a stint as an ad salesman/drama critic for the Miami Herald while appearing in plays at the Miami Civic Theater. Through his Miami Herald job, he got himself a position as an assistant stage manager at a theatre in New York which led to a season at the Copley Theatre in Boston where he had the opportunity to play a variety of roles in a variety of plays.
In 1930, he made his Broadway debut and later started working on radio where he met a young actor named Orson Welles. By 1937, he had joined Orson Welles' Mercury Theater which eventually included radio, stage and film. The men remained lifelong friends and Cotten made his film debut in the Welles classic Citizen Kane in 1941. Other collaborations with Welles followed most notably The Magnificent Ambersons and The Third Man.
In 1943, Cotten signed with famed producer David O. Selznick and he played the romantic lead opposite the major female stars of the day including Ingrid Bergman, Bette Davis and Claudette Colbert.
His television roles vary from Dr. Kildare to The Virginian to Fantasy Island to Tales of the Unexpected. In all, his career spanned over 100 appearances in films and on television.