William Alland, radio actor and film producer best known for his work with Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater and the classic film “Citizen Kane,” has died. He was 81.
Alland died Tuesday in Long Beach of complications of heart disease.
As a part of the radio Mercury Theater broadcasts, Alland was among the players in Welles’ historic 1938 drama “War of the Worlds,” which brought home the impact of the relatively new medium of radio.
In “Kane,” released in 1941, Alland played the relentless reporter and narrated the “March of Time” news sequence.
As an actor, Alland’s only other film was a version of “Macbeth.”
But he went on to produce 28 feature films, primarily low-budget science fiction and cult genre “quickies” sometimes called “nine-day wonders.”
His output also included the respected “The Lady Takes a Flyer” with Lana Turner in 1958 and his last film, “The Rare Breed” with James Stewart and Maureen O’Hara in 1966.
Science fiction favorites produced by Alland include “It Came From Outer Space,” “This Island Earth” and “Creature From the Black Lagoon” and two sequels.
Defending such films to Times entertainment writer Philip K. Scheuer in 1958, Alland said: “They inevitably have a thematic idea, a scientific way of affirming the dignity and permanence of man.”
Among Alland’s other films were “The Mole People,” “Tarantula,” “Raw Wind in Eden,” “The Lively Set,” “Too Young for Love” and “The Party Crashers.”
After ending his Hollywood career, Alland developed and manufactured sailboats. For the past 10 years he had worked part time for the Los Angeles Times Poll.
Alland, a widower, is survived by three children, Susan Alland of Piedmont, Calif., Richard Alland of Charlottesville, Va., and John Alland of Portland, Ore.; two step-children, Lisa Lockett of Long Beach and Laura King of Chicago, and five grandchildren.
A memorial service is scheduled Saturday at 2 p.m. in the John Ford Chapel at the Motion Picture and Television Fund Campus, 23388 Mulholland Drive, Woodland Hills.
The family has asked that any memorial donations be made to the Motion Picture and Television Fund.