George Orson Welles was born in Kenoshe Wisconsin, to a wealthy family. His parents seperated and moved to Chicago, where his mother died when he was 9. He spent a few years traveling with his wealthy Father, who was also an alchoholic. He went to boarding high school at Todd Seminary for boys. His father died when Welles was 15, and he inherited his Fathers money. He recieved a scholarship to Harvard but instead decided to travel. While in traveling he went started acting in Ireland.
Few would argue against George Orson Welles' film Citizen Kane (1941) as being one of the greatest movies ever made. Welles directed, coauthored and starred in the classic, his first film, and it is considered to have been a spectacular debut performance in every way. Orson Welles had already made his mark on theatre -- starring on Broadway in his 1920's, and on radio as "The Shadow" -- when in 1938 he produced a terrifying radio program based on the science fiction classic, "The War of The Worlds."
Given that he had achieved such success so young, it is not surprising that Welles' later career was uneven. Along with many excellent films such as The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), The Third Man (1949) and Touch of Evil (1958), there were disappointments.
In later life, Welles lived mainly in Europe.