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William Alland

Personal information
Birth dateMarch 4, 1916
Place of birthDelmar, Delaware, U.S.
Date of deathNovember 11, 1997(age 81)
Death placeLong Beach, California, U.S.
OccupationActor, director, producer, writer

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William Alland (March 4, 1916 November 11, 1997) was an American actor, producer, writer and director of science fiction and western films. He is perhaps best known for his role as reporter Jerry Thompson, who investigates the life of newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane in Orson Welle's Citizen Kane. In his early 20s, he arrived in Manhattan and took courses at the Henry Street Settlement House, where he met Orson Welles. He also lent his voice to Welles' The War of the Worlds. Alland won a Peabody Award as producer of Doorway to Life.

Alland's role as reporter Thompson in Citizen Kane is noted most importantly because the camera never closes up on his face; in fact, for the majority of his scenes in the film, he shows his back to the camera, and whenever his face can be seen, it is always in long-shot and almost always clouded in shadow. As noted by film critic Roger Ebert on the DVD commentary of Citizen Kane, Alland once reportedly told an entire audience of people that they would probably recognize him if he were to show his back to them.

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