About Joseph Cotten

Gaslight

Ingrid Bergman & Joseph Cotten in Gaslight

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Biography

Joseph Cheshire Cotten was born in Petersburg, Virginia May 15, 1905. He was the son of a well-to-do Southern family and studied acting at the Hickman School of Expression in Washington, D.C..

He made his Broadway debut in 1930 and in 1937 joined Orson Welles' Mercury Theater and starred in Julius Caesar and Shoemaker's Holiday. Ne was back on Broadway again in 1939 in The Philadelphia Story. He then made his Hollywood debut in Citizen Kane playing a drama critic, a career Cotten had tried in the late 1920's for the Miami Herald.

Cotten went on to star in numerous films of the 1940's and 1950's, most notably The Magnificent Ambersons, Journey Into Fear, which he co-scripted, Shadow of a Doubt, Since You Went Away, Gaslight, Love Letters, Duel in the Sun, The Farmer's Daughter, Portrait of Jennie, for which he won a Venice Film Festival Best Actor Award, Under Capricorn, The Third Man, Beyond the Forest, Niagara and Touch of Evil.

Cotten could be charming and also arrogant. He won the hearts of his Hollywood contemporaries when he kicked columnist Louella Parsons in the rear end. He's also credited for coining the question, "Sonny TUFTS?". He remained active into the 1980's making many television appearances and stage appearances with his second wife, Patricia Medina. He had been married previously to Lenore Kipp, who passed away in 1960. In 1987 he published his autobiography Vanity Will Get You Somewhere. He passed away from a combination of throat cancer and pneumonia on February 6, 1994.

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