Richard Wilson


Director, Producer

About

Birth Place
McKeesport, Pennsylvania, USA
Born
December 25, 1915
Died
August 21, 1991
Cause of Death
Pancreatic Cancer

Biography

Longtime associate of Orson Welles who joined Welles and John Houseman at the founding of the Mercury Theater company in 1937. Wilson worked as stage manager and actor in such Mercury productions as "Julius Caesar," "The Cradle Will Rock," "Native Son" and "Heartbreak House" while simultaneously working as an actor and production assistant on the radio program "Mercury Theater of the Air...

Family & Companions

Elizabeth Wilson
Wife
Met while filming the uncompleted "It's All True" in Brazil (1942); co-wrote "A Raw Wind in Eden" (1958) with husband.

Notes

Wilson taught directing at USC and was involved with the DGA, Academy and National Repertory Theater and served as a judge in the American College Theater Festival.

Biography

Longtime associate of Orson Welles who joined Welles and John Houseman at the founding of the Mercury Theater company in 1937. Wilson worked as stage manager and actor in such Mercury productions as "Julius Caesar," "The Cradle Will Rock," "Native Son" and "Heartbreak House" while simultaneously working as an actor and production assistant on the radio program "Mercury Theater of the Air," including its legendary broadcast of "The War of the Worlds." Wilson appeared in "Citizen Kane" (1941) and "The Lady from Shanghai" (1948), for which he served as associate producer).

After Welles left for Europe in the early 50s, Wilson joined Universal as a producer working on the Ma and Pa Kettle films and in the mid-50s began directing features, mostly highly realistic Westerns and gangster films including "Al Capone" (1959), "Pay or Die" (1960) and "Invitation to a Gunfighter" (1964).

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

It's All True: Based on an Unfinished Film by Orson Welles (1993)
Director
Skullduggery (1970)
Director
3 in the Attic (1968)
Director
Invitation to a Gunfighter (1964)
Director
Wall of Noise (1963)
Director
Pay or Die (1960)
Director
Al Capone (1959)
Director
Raw Wind in Eden (1958)
Director
The Big Boodle (1957)
Director
Man with the Gun (1955)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

All Is Brazil (1998)
Carry on Columbus (1993)
It's All True: Based on an Unfinished Film by Orson Welles (1993)
Himself
Soft Top, Hard Shoulder (1993)
A Dry White Season (1989)
How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989)
Whoops Apocalypse (1988)
Tutti Frutti (1987)
Ruthless People (1986)
Foreign Body (1986)
Colonel Partridge
Fellow Traveller (1986)
Sir Hugo Armstrong
A Passage to India (1984)
Those Glory Glory Days (1984)
Mark Gertler Fragments of a Biography (1981)
F for Fake (1973)
I'd Climb the Highest Mountain (1951)
Bill Salter
Citizen Kane (1941)
Reporter at Xanadu

Cinematography (Feature Film)

The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960)
Gaffer
Sergeant Rutledge (1960)
Gaffer
The Young Philadelphians (1959)
Gaffer
Illegal (1955)
Gaffer

Writer (Feature Film)

It's All True: Based on an Unfinished Film by Orson Welles (1993)
Screenplay
Invitation to a Gunfighter (1964)
Scr--screen story
Raw Wind in Eden (1958)
Screenwriter
Man with the Gun (1955)
Story and Screenplay

Producer (Feature Film)

It's All True: Based on an Unfinished Film by Orson Welles (1993)
Producer
It's All True: Based on an Unfinished Film by Orson Welles (1993)
Associate Producer
3 in the Attic (1968)
Producer
Invitation to a Gunfighter (1964)
Producer
Pay or Die (1960)
Producer
The Kettles in the Ozarks (1956)
Producer
Ma and Pa Kettle at Home (1954)
Producer
The Golden Blade (1953)
Producer
Macbeth (1948)
Associate Producer
The Lady from Shanghai (1948)
Associate Producer

Cast (Special)

Murder By the Book (1990)
The Secret of Charles Dickens (1978)

Life Events

1937

Joined Mercury Theater and worked as stage manager and actor for "Julius Caesar", "The Cradle Will Rock", "Native Son", "Heartbreak House"

1942

Was second unit director on the uncompleted semi-documentary, "It's All True"

1942

Served in the US Air Force as chief of the operations division of the Office of Strategic Services in charge of presenting intelligence films to the staff

1945

Served as chief photographic officer for the Secretariat of the United Nations at its opening conference in San Francisco

1946

Co-produced Welles's stage production of the Cole Porter musical, "Around the World in 80 Days"

1955

Film directing and writing debut, "Man With the Gun"

1986

Returned to Brazil to begin work on a documentary based on his experiences with Welles during the 1942 production of the unfinished semi-documentary "It's All True"

1990

Directed a radio broadcast of "Dracula" in New York which was filmed as a study in radio directing techniques

1991

Co-produced a collection of vintage Mercury radio dramas intitled "Theater of the Imagination" for Voyager laserdisk (date approximate)

1991

Was producing a feature film about the 1942 production of the unfinished film project, "It's All True" at time of his death which his co-producers plan to complete

Videos

Movie Clip

Pay Or Die (1960) - Italians Worship Outdoors This looks like the 1959 Allied Artists-Rod Steiger hit Al Capone because it's the follow-up, from director Richard Wilson, Ernest Borgnine as real New York cop Joseph Petrosino, in Little Italy ca. 1906, Zohra Lampert, Alan Austin and John Duke also introduced, in Pay Or Die, 1960.
Lady From Shanghai, The (1948) - I've Never Seen An Aquarium Now in San Francisco, Elsa (Rita Hayworth) has arranged to meet her lover, and her husband’s hired sailor Michael (writer-director and then-current Mr. Hayworth Orson Welles) at the (still-operating) Steinhart Aquarium, where he reveals the scheme he’s been lured into, in the second-most famous scene from The Lady From Shanghai, 1948.
Al Capone (1959) - The Man In Charge South-side under-boss Torrio (Nehemiah Persoff) clashes with north-side thugs (Robert Gist, Murvyn Vye, Lewis Charles), then gets a talking-to from henchman Rod Steiger (title character) in Al Capone, 1959.
Al Capone (1959) - Luck From A Stranger After credits and narration establishing the beginning of Prohibition in 1920, Rod Steiger as the title character meets Torrio (Nehemiah Persoff), a historical figure, then reporter Mac Keely (Martin Balsam), invented for the picture, in Al Capone, 1959, produced by John Houseman.
Al Capone (1959) - Price Is No Object In a Cicero, Illinois boutique, Rod Steiger (title character) buys off Gladys (Patricia Donahue), but pursues shop-girl Maureen (Fay Spain), with whom he has a history, in Al Capone, 1959.

Trailer

Family

John D Wilson
Brother
Gail Shay
Sister
Christopher Wilson
Son

Companions

Elizabeth Wilson
Wife
Met while filming the uncompleted "It's All True" in Brazil (1942); co-wrote "A Raw Wind in Eden" (1958) with husband.

Bibliography

Notes

Wilson taught directing at USC and was involved with the DGA, Academy and National Repertory Theater and served as a judge in the American College Theater Festival.