Paid for studies at the Hickman School by playing center on a professional football team and by selling vacuum cleaners
Moved to New York but, unable to get an acting job, sold paint for two years
Moved to Miami; worked as a potato salad merchandiser and later sold ad space and wrote drama reviews for "Miami Herald"; also acted in plays staged by the Miami Civic Theatre over the course of five years
Became assistant stage manager for David Belasco and understudied two productions: "Dancing Partner" and "Tonight or Never" in NY
Acted in stock with the Copley Theater, Boston
Broadway debut, "Absent Father"
First collaboration with Orson Welles: the Federal Theater Project production of "Horse Eats Hat"
Worked as writer and actor with Welles on "Mercury Theatre of the Air"
First short film as actor, "Too Much Johnson"
Left the Mercury Theatre to appear on Broadway in "The Philadelphia Story"
Made feature film acting debut in "Citizen Kane"
Signed to seven-year contract by David O. Selnick
Entertained troops during WWII in America and overseas as part of Orson Welles' travelling variety troupe
Starred on Lockheed Aircraft weekly radio prodgram, "America Ceiling Unlimited"
Directed "Peter Hunter, Private Eye", the earliest known syndicated pilot, starring Frank Albertson in the title role
TV debut in General Electric Theater production "The High Green Wall"
Hosted and often performed in a courtroom anthology drama based on actual trials held worldwide; series initially titled "On Trial" ran on NBC for a year; reruns from series retitled "The Joseph Cotten Show" aired on NBC in the summer of 1958 and on CBS in the summer of 1959 (1959 broadcasts also included reruns of other theatrical dramas)
Went to Italy to film the Italian-American co-production "The Angel Wore Red/La Sposa Bella" toplining Ava Gardner and Dirk Bogarde
Successfully returned to the stage as an embattled industrialist in "Calculated Risk" in the early 60s; co-starred opposite wife Patricia Medina
Starred in an NBC-TV one-hour remake of Alfred Hitchcock's "Notorious"
Hosted and narrated the NBC half-hour documentary series, "Hollywood and the Stars"
Began making films regularly in Italy with "I Crudeli/The Hellbenders" and "Gli Uomini del Passo Pesanti/The Tramplers"
Last American-made films: "The Hearse", "The House Where Death Lives", "Heaven's Gate"
Lost his voice after a stroke; regained it after undergoing therapy
Played last feature acting role in the Italian-made "Rambo Sfida la Citta/Syndicate Sadists"
Appeared as himself in the Italian-made feature documentary, "Hitchcock--Il Brivido del Genio/The Thrill of Genius"