(1916-03-04)March 4, 1916, Delmar, Delaware, U.S.
November 11, 1997(1997-11-11) (aged 81), Long Beach, California, U.S.
Actor, director, producer, writer
William Alland (March 4, 1916 - November 11, 1997) was an American actor, producer, writer and director of science fiction and western films. As an actor, he played the reporter who investigates the life of the newspaper tycoon in Orson Welle's Citizen Kane (1941).
In his early 20s, he arrived in Manhattan and took courses at the Henry Street Settlement House, where he met Orson Welles. He also lent his voice to Welles' The War of the Worlds. Alland won a Peabody Award as producer of Doorway to Life.
Alland's role as reporter Jerry Thompson in Citizen Kane (1941) is unusual because the camera never closes up on his face; in fact, for the majority of his scenes in the film, he shows his back to the camera, and whenever his face can be seen, it is always in long-shot and almost always clouded in shadow. As noted by film critic Roger Ebert on the DVD commentary of Citizen Kane, Alland once reportedly told an entire audience of people that they would probably recognize him if he were to show his back to them.
Behind the camera, his greatest fame came from producing science fiction movies at Universal and Paramount in the 1950s. His sci-fi producing career is the subject of a 60-page interview in the book "Monsters, Mutants and Heavenly Creatures" (Midnight Marquee Press, 1996) by Tom Weaver.
Citizen Kane (1941) .... Jerry Thompson,
Tom Dick and Harry (1941, uncredited) .... voice of Newsreel Announcer,
The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941, uncredited) .... Guide (scenes deleted),
The Falcon Takes Over (1942, uncredited) .... Reporter,
Riffraff (1947, uncredited) .... Trumpy, Man in Cell,
The Lady from Shanghai (1947, uncredited) .... Reporter,
Macbeth (1948) - Second Murderer,
It Came From Outer Space (1953) - Producer,
The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) - Producer,
This Island Earth (1955) - Producer,
Chief Crazy Horse (1955) - Producer,
The Colossus of New York (1958) - Producer,
Look in Any Window (1961) - Director,
The Rare Breed (1966) - Producer