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February 12, 2023

Joseph Cotten: One of the Leading Hollywood Actors of the 1940s

Born 1905 in Petersburg, Virginia, American actor Joseph Cotten achieved prominence on Broadway, starring in the original stage productions of The Philadelphia Story and Sabrina Fair. He then gained worldwide fame in three Orson Welles films: Citizen Kane (1941), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), and Journey into Fear (1943), for which he was also credited with the screenplay.

Cotten went on to become one of the leading Hollywood actors of the 1940s, appearing in films such as Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Gaslight (1944), Love Letters (1945), Duel in the Sun (1946), Portrait of Jennie (1948) for which he won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor, The Third Man (1949) and Niagara (1953). One of his final films was Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate (1980).

Multiple film critics and media outlets have cited him as one of the best actors never to have received an Academy Award nomination. He died in 1994 of pneumonia, at the age of 88. Take a look at these vintage photos to see portraits of Joseph Cotten in the 1940s.


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