Unpublished Orson Welles memoir discovered at University of Michigan

Orson Welles’ “comeback” movie, “The Other Side of the Wind,” which he shot four decades ago and never finished, will hopefully see the light of day thanks to a recent $2-million crowdfunding campaign to complete the film.

But the influential “Citizen Kane” and “Touch of Evil” filmmaker/actor/writer, who was born 100 years ago, didn’t just leave unfinished films behind when he died in 1985.

The curator of the University of Michigan library’s Screen Arts Mavericks and Makers collection announced Thursday the discovery of an unpublished personal memoir Welles had titled “Confessions of a One-Man Band.”

The draft was discovered when archivists at the university’s special collections library began processing eight boxes of Welles’ material shipped earlier this month from the Croatian home of actress Oja Kodar, who was Welles’ partner in the last 24 years of his life.

Welles’ draft of “One Man Band,” which he began in the 1970s, was written on a typewriter, but also contains handwritten notes and edits. Among the topics he covers in the memoir are his parents, second wife Rita Hayworth, Ernest Hemingway and D.W. Griffith.


“If you think of it as a puzzle, this is another important piece that brings us closer to being able to see the bigger picture,” curator Philip Hallman said in a statement Thursday. “Having an opportunity to look at him as a father, as a husband, as a friend -- you get to see what was happening behind the scenes, including the struggles and the missed opportunities and the agony that he was experiencing.”

However, Hallman doesn’t believe that the memoir will be published in the near future.

“It doesn’t appear to be anywhere near a final draft, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be important to scholars or researchers,” Hallman said. “There’s a lot of evidence that we’ve found that explains why he didn’t -- or couldn’t -- finish some of his projects.”