I just came across this photo of Orson Welles on the jacket of the soundtrack album for THE THIRD MAN.
My God, Welles was incredibly handsome back then! In 1949, he would have been ideal for the role of James Bond! (In 1954, Barry Nelson played CIA agent James 'Jimmy' Bond in CASINO ROYALE, an episode of the CBS TV anthology series CLIMAX. By '54, Welles had gained an amazing amount of weight and could only be considered for character parts. He would have made a good M or Le Chiffre, a role he eventually played in the big budget 1967 travesty loosely based on CASINO ROYALE, with a thin Peter Sellers as Bond.)
After THE THIRD MAN, Welles could have been a matinee idol. Why did he let himself go? He once said that no actor was more beautiful than he when he was in full costume and makeup as as the young Charles Foster Kane. And yet, like Brando, he allowed his features to coarsen as he became encased in fat. In a 1960 interview, Rita Hayworth said she would never have allowed Welles to gain so much weight if their marriage had endured.
Can anyone unearth a photo of Welles when he was at his absolute fattest? I believe he was never heftier than in 1964, when he had to slim down to play Falstaff, as the wag said.