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Lunch With Orson Welles

Read the transcript of a 1983 chat between filmmaker Henry Jaglom and name-dropper Orson Welles.

It’s called “Lunch Conversation With Orson Welles,” and it’s an excerpt from the upcoming book My Lunches With Orson Welles: Conversations Between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles, by Peter Biskind.

Welles (left) with Henry Jaglom

During this talk, at the Los Angeles restaurant Ma Maison, Henry Jaglom mostly listens to the sharp-tongued Welles gossip, fib and reminisce, while brushing off waiters, Richard Burton and the modern business of movie making.

Welles mentions a lot of celebrities.

He tells Jaglom that in a dressing room, Katharine Hepburn “was describing how she was [made love to] by Howard Hughes, using all the four-letter words. Most people didn’t talk like that then.”

And of her buddy Spencer Tracy: “To me he was just a hateful, hateful man.”

Orson says: “I never could stand looking at Bette Davis, so I don’t want to see her act, you see.”

Of Woody Allen, Orson says: “To me, it’s the most embarrassing thing in the world — a man who presents himself at his worst to get laughs, in order to free himself from his hang-ups. Everything he does on the screen is therapeutic.”

Of Richard Burton, Orson says: “Richard Burton had great talent. He’s ruined his great great gifts. He’s become a joke with a celebrity wife.” That wife would be Elizabeth Taylor, of course.

Welles calls Irving Thalberg “the biggest single villain in the history of Hollywood.”

And much more, most of it about the old days of Hollywood and Broadway. Read the entire thing here.

Read the Who2 biography of Orson Welles here.

Read the Who2 biography of Henry Jaglom here.

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