Actor and American producer, born on May 15, 1905 in Petersburg (Virginia) and died on February 6, 1994 in Los Angeles (California). His beginnings in the world of interpretation were very hard, since to be able to afford dramatic art studies was forced to perform the most various trades; He worked in post, sold vacuum cleaners, paints and accessories for cars and even played as a professional in the NFL, activity that was abligado to leave after several injuries. After some time, it meant their steps towards journalism and worked as a reporter, critic theatre and runner of ad in the Miami Herald, after which formed a theatrical group and made some collaborations with radio.
In 1930 he moved to New York to work as Assistant Director and alternate actor, but until a year later, upon his debut at the Copley Theatre in Boston, did not begin truly career in the tables. He took part in the works Absent father (1932), Jezebel (1933), Momentos perdidos (1935) and the postman always rings twice (1936), which followed, next to the Federal Theatre, the horse eats hat (1936) and Fausto (1937). He founded along with Orson Welles Mercury Theatre of New York, group that played Julio César (1937) and the vacation of the Shoemaker (1938). In 1939 represented, also on Broadway, along with Katharine Hepburn, Philadelphia stories, drama that held more than one year in cartel and that reaped an immense success.
Jump to fame with the war of the worlds radio program, Welles decided to embark on the big screen; in this first stage Hollywood Cotten rolled Citizen Kane (1941) and the fourth commandment (1942), films that consolidated its prestige as an actor, although the definitive accolade, reached this past year, Hitchcock orders, with the shadow of a doubt, film which earned him a contract with Universal to work on eternal loops, Frank Ryan, as well as the protagonists in duel in the Sun (1946) papersKing Vidor and the third man (1949), again directed by Orson Welles.
Other titles in his filmography are since you left (1944), letters to my beloved (1945), Jennie (1948) - which was awarded at the Venice Film Festival in 1959, tormented, the trap of money, Lullaby for a dead body, when we reached the destination, the ruthless (1966), white Comanche (1967), cruel men (1968) and Lydia.
After a hiatus in which he returned to theatre to interpret Sabrina worked in dramas for television as Broadway (1955), State of the Union (1955), Man without fear (1956), HMS Marlborough, (1956), The case of the jealous bomber (1957) and The edge of innocence (1957).
In 1956 created his own television production company, the Fordyce Productions, that made programs such as The Joseph Cotten Show and Hollywood and the stars. During the 1960s he made when we reached the destination, alert missiles, airport 77 and Guyana, the crime of the century (1979), in which shooting suffered a feint of heart attack. He then made some sporadic collaborations in movies as the gate of Heaven (1980), Cimino, the last sunset, the men fish (1978) island or the Waltons television series.