Joseph Cotten Biography

Joseph Cotten Biography

Joseph Cotten, born on May 15, 1905 in Virginia, was a renowned Hollywood actor during the 1940s. He starred in numerous films, including “Citizen Kane” (1941), “The Magnificent Ambersons” (1942), “Gaslight” (1944), and “The Third Man” (1949).

After attending the Hickman School of Expression in Washington DC, Cotten moved to New York in 1924 to pursue his passion for the theater. However, he faced many challenges and ultimately became a shipping clerk for a year. He then went to Florida where he worked a variety of odd jobs, but continued to act in the Miami Civic Theater. His dedication paid off, and he eventually became an Assistant Stage Manager in New York.

In 1930, Joseph Cotten ventured into radio shows and also continued to attend auditions and stage performances. His life took a new turn when he met Orson Welles and joined his theater company, appearing in leading roles in plays such as “Shoemaker’s Holiday” and “Julius Caesar.”

Cotten’s big break on the silver screen came in 1941 when he appeared in Welles’ highly successful film “Citizen Kane,” catapulting him to overnight stardom. He found his finest roles in Welles’ films, including “The Magnificent Ambersons” in 1942 and “Journey into Fear” in 1943. He also appeared in other notable films such as “Shadow of a Doubt” (1943), “The Third Man” (1949), and “Touch of Evil” (1958).

In the 1960s, Cotten transitioned to appearing in TV reality shows, including “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “20th Century Fox Hour.” He wrote his autobiography, “Vanity Will Get You Somewhere,” which was published in 1987. Cotten suffered from cardiac disease before his death.

On February 6, 1994, Joseph Cotten passed away due to pneumonia. He will always be remembered as a famous film actor and radio personality of the 60s.


Born: May 15, 1905, Petersburg, Virginia, United States
Died: February 6, 1994, Los Angeles, California, United States
Height: 1.88 m
Books: Vanity Will Get You Somewhere: An Autobiography
TV shows: The Joseph Cotten Show, Hollywood and the Stars, The 20th Century Fox Hour


Spouse(s): Lenore Kipp (1931–1960), Patricia Medina (1960–1994)


  • Rambo Sfida la Citta (1982)
  • Fish Men, The (1979)
  • Sussuri Nel Buio (1977)
  • Assault on the Wayne (1971)
  • Niagara (1953)
  • Too Much Johnson (1938)

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