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Joseph Cotten (I) (1905–1994)

Joseph Cheshire Cotten, Jr. was born in Petersburg, Virginia, into a well-to-do Southern family. He was the eldest of three sons born to Sally Whitworth (Willson) and Joseph Cheshire Cotten, Sr., an assistant postmaster. Jo (as he was known) and his brothers Whit and Sam spent their summers at their aunt and uncle's home at Virginia Beach. And ... See full bio »

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Known For

Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane Jedediah Leland / Screening Room Reporter
The Third Man
The Third Man Holly Martins
Portrait of Jennie
Portrait of Jennie Eben Adams
Soylent Green
Soylent Green William R. Simonson


Hide Hide Show Show Actor (132 credits)
 1981 The Survivor
 1981 The Love Boat (TV Series)
Col. van Ryker
 1981 Delusion
Ivar Langrock
 1980 Heaven's Gate
The Reverend Doctor
 1980 Casino (TV Movie)
Ed Booker
 1979-1980 Tales of the Unexpected (TV Series)
Lionel / Edward
 1980 The Hearse
Walter Prichard
 1978-1979 Fantasy Island (TV Series)
Thomas Cummings / Simon Grant
 1979 Churchill and the Generals (TV Movie)
Gen. George C. Marshall
 1979 Guyana: Cult of the Damned
Richard Gable
 1979 Concorde Affaire '79
 1979 Screamers
Prof. Ernest Marvin
 1978 Indagine su un delitto perfetto
Sir Arthur Dundee
 1978 Caravans
 1978 Last In, First Out
Foster Johnson
 1978 The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (TV Series)
Weldon Rathbone
 1977 Aspen (TV Mini-Series)
Horton Paine
 1977 Airport '77
Nicholas St. Downs III
 1977 Twilight's Last Gleaming
Arthur Renfrew - Secretary of State
 1976 Freedom Is (TV Movie) (voice)
 1976 Alle origini della mafia (TV Mini-Series)
The Envoy
 1976 A Whisper in the Dark
The Professor
 1976 The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case (TV Movie)
Dr. Joseph Francis Condon
 1975 Timber Tramps
Greedy sawmill mogul
 1975 Syndicate Sadists
 1974 The Rockford Files (TV Series)
Warner Jameson
 1973 A Delicate Balance
 1973 Soylent Green
William R. Simonson
 1973 The Streets of San Francisco (TV Series)
John R. James
 1973 The Devil's Daughter (TV Movie)
Judge Weatherby
 1972 Lo scopone scientifico
 1972 Baron Blood
Baron Otto von Kleist / Alfred Becker
 1972 Doomsday Voyage
Captain Jason
 1972 The Screaming Woman (TV Movie)
George Tresvant
 1971 Lady Frankenstein
Baron Frankenstein
 1971 The Abominable Dr. Phibes
Dr. Vesalius
 1971 Journey to Murder
Jeff Wheeler (Do Me a Favor and Kill Me)
 1971 City Beneath the Sea (TV Movie)
Dr. Ziegler
 1971 Do You Take This Stranger? (TV Movie)
Dr. Robert Carson
 1971 Assault on the Wayne (TV Movie)
 1970 The Virginian (TV Series)
Judge Hobbs / Judge Will McMasters
 1970 Tora! Tora! Tora!
Henry L. Stimson
 1970 The Grasshopper
Richard Morgan
 1970 NET Playhouse (TV Series)
 1968-1970 It Takes a Thief (TV Series)
Mr. Jack / Col. Heinrich
 1970 The Name of the Game (TV Series)
Henry 'Harry' Worthington Rayner
 1970 Cutter's Trail (TV Movie)
Gen. Spalding
 1969 Keene
 1969 The Lonely Profession (TV Movie)
Martin Bannister
 1969 Latitude Zero
Capt. Craig McKenzie / Cmdr. Glenn McKenzie
 1968 White Comanche
Sheriff Logan
 1968 Journey to the Unknown (TV Series)
Jeff Wheeler
 1968 Ironside (TV Series)
Dr. Benjamin Stern
 1968 Petulia
Mr. Danner
 1968 Gangsters '70
 1968 Off to See the Wizard (TV Series)
General Antigonus
 1967 Jack of Diamonds
 1967 Cimarron Strip (TV Series)
Nathan Tio
 1967 Some May Live
Col. Woodward
 1967 The Cruel Ones
Colonel Jonas
 1966 Brighty of the Grand Canyon
Jim Owen
 1966 The Oscar
Kenneth Regan
 1965 The Tramplers
Temple Cordeen
 1965 The Money Trap
Dr. Horace Van Tilden
 1965 The Great Sioux Massacre
Major Reno
 1964 Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte
Dr. Drew Bayliss
 1963 Alexander the Great (TV Movie)
 1963 77 Sunset Strip (TV Series)
Arnold Buhler
 1963 The Great Adventure (TV Series)
Captain Meehan
 1961-1962 Wagon Train (TV Series)
John Augustus / Captain Dan Brady
 1962 Saints and Sinners (TV Series)
Preston Cooper
 1962 Dr. Kildare (TV Series)
Charles Ladovan
 1961 Theatre '62 (TV Series)
 1961 Bus Stop (TV Series)
Professor Wheelwright
 1961 The Last Sunset
John Breckenridge
 1961 The Barbara Stanwyck Show (TV Series)
Mac McClay
 1960 Checkmate (TV Series)
Dr. George Mallinson
 1960 The DuPont Show with June Allyson (TV Series)
Charles Lawrence / Dick Burlingame
 1960 The Angel Wore Red
 1955-1959 Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV Series)
Courtney Masterson / Tony Gould / William Callew
 1959 Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse (TV Series)
Black McSween
 1958 From the Earth to the Moon
Victor Barbicane
 1958 Suspicion (TV Series)
Gregg Carey
 1958 Touch of Evil
Coroner (uncredited)
 1958 Zane Grey Theater (TV Series)
Ben Harper
 1957 Schlitz Playhouse (TV Series)
 1957 Playhouse 90 (TV Series)
Robert Rainey
 1957 Telephone Time (TV Series)
 1957 Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre (TV Series)
Bruce Malone
 1955-1957 The Joseph Cotten Show: On Trial (TV Series)
Reed / Reed Murrow / Clint Anderson / ...
 1957 The Halliday Brand
Daniel Halliday
 1954-1956 General Electric Theater (TV Series)
Private Harris / Captain / Paul Henty
 1955-1956 Star Stage (TV Series)
Narrator / Alexander Holmes
 1956 The Ford Television Theatre (TV Series)
John Ashburn
 1956 The Killer Is Loose
Detective Sam Wagner
 1956 The Bottom of the Bottle
Pat 'P.M.' Martin
 1955 Celebrity Playhouse (TV Series)
Marshal Fenton Lockhart
 1955 The Best of Broadway (TV Series)
Dan McCorn
 1955 Bedevilled
Flight Announcer at the airport (voice, uncredited)
 1955 Special Delivery
John Adams
 1954 Producers' Showcase (TV Series)
Grant Matthews
 1953 A Blueprint for Murder
Whitney 'Cam' Cameron
 1953 Egypt by Three
 1953 Niagara
George Loomis
 1952 The Steel Trap
Jim Osborne
 1952 Untamed Frontier
Kirk Denbow
 1952 The Wild Heart
 1951 Othello
Senator (uncredited)
 1951 The Man with a Cloak
 1951 Peking Express
Michael Bachlin
 1951 Half Angel
John Raymond Jr.
 1950 Two Flags West
Col. Clay Tucker
 1950 Walk Softly, Stranger
Chris Hale aka Steve
 1950 September Affair
David Lawrence
 1949 Beyond the Forest
Doctor Louis Moline
 1949 Under Capricorn
Sam Flusky
 1949 The Third Man
Holly Martins
 1948 Portrait of Jennie
Eben Adams
 1947 The Farmer's Daughter
Glenn Morley
 1946 Duel in the Sun
Jesse McCanles
 1945 Love Letters
Alan Quinton
 1944 I'll Be Seeing You
Zachary Morgan
 1944 Since You Went Away
Lt. Tony Willett
 1944 Gaslight
Brian Cameron
 1943 Hers to Hold
Bill Morley
 1943 Shadow of a Doubt
Charlie Oakley
 1942 Journey Into Fear
Howard Graham
 1942 The Magnificent Ambersons
Eugene Morgan
 1941 Lydia
Michael Fitzpatrick
 1941 Citizen Kane
Jedediah Leland / Screening Room Reporter
 1938 Too Much Johnson
Augustus Billings
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Show Show Writer (2 credits)
Show Show Thanks (2 credits)
Show Show Self (36 credits)
Show Show Archive footage (35 credits)

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Personal Details

Other Works:

Stage Play: Danton's Death. Drama (revival). Music by Marc Blitzstein. Written by Geoffrey Dunlop. Based on the German of Georg Buchner. Scenic Design by Jan Tichacek. Directed by Orson Welles. Mercury Theatre: 2 Nov 1938- Nov 1938 (closing date unknown/21 performances). Cast: William Alland (as "Servant to Danton"), Ellen Andrews (as "... See more »

Publicity Listings:

1 Print Biography | 3 Portrayals | 1 Pictorial | See more »


6' 2" (1.88 m)

Did You Know?

Personal Quote:

I was a so-called star because of my limitations and that was always the case. I couldn't do any accents. So I had to pretend. Luckily I was tall, had curly hair and a good voice. I only had to stamp my foot and I'd play the lead -- because I couldn't play character parts. See more »


His brother, Sam, passed away on February 27, 2010 in Winchester, Virginia, at the age of 90. See more »


Wavy hair, tall frame, cleft chin. See more »



Star Sign:


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