There’s an unwritten rule in Hollywood that states, when you write, direct, produce and star in a movie widely considered to be one of the greatest pieces of fiction ever created, you get to tell pretty much everyone to eat your ass with a spoon. If you’ve never heard of this particular rule, that not surprising given it only applied to one man. Orson Welles.
Standing 6ft 3 inches tall with an impossibly magnificent beard and a deep, booming voice reminiscent of God reading Christopher Lee’s autobiography out loud, Welles was commanding presence in Hollywood. A fact that only become more true the older Welles got thanks to his now legendary appetite for everything succulent and deep fried.
Welles’ love of food saw his weight balloon to several hundred pounds as an older man and many who knew him from his films were often surprised to see how much ass Welles had to spare. Although it’s often reported that Welles’ gluttonous behaviour in his old age caused his rapid weight gain, the truth is that Welles always loved food. It’s just that when he was younger he was able to lose any weight he gained by going on a crash diet.
As an idea of how much Welles could eat in a single sitting it’s noted that he would regularly go to restaurants and order three steaks. Welles was so, if you’ll excuse the pun, well known for doing this that his doctor once told him to stop eating meals for four. Unless he invited another three people to help him eat them. A quip Welles enjoyed so much he frequently quoted it to friends whenever he did exactly that.
A lover of drink as well as food, Welles could pound a bottle of fancy wine like it was a lukewarm cup of coffee left on his nightstand and stories tell of him racking up bar tabs higher than the GDP of third world nations.
Perhaps emboldened by his fame and near-mythical status amongst his peers, as Welles grew older and rounder his ability to give fucks eroded to the point he simply stopped pretending to care. This resulted in Welles adopting a lackadaisical facade where he didn’t even try to act like he cared what other people said. To this end it soon became Welles’ stock response to anyone who approached him when he was eating, drinking or anything like that, regardless of who they were, to go and fuck themselves.
If you’re currently thinking surely this must be an exaggeration and that there’s no way a man of Orson Welles’ stature would respond to innocent questions from fans so bluntly, we invite you to check out Billy Crystal’s autobiography. In it Mr Crystal notes that he once met Welles at a comedy roast and sauntered over to him to pay his respects and say how much he enjoyed his work. Before Crystal even managed to finish speaking Welles cut him off and explained to the actor very matter-of-factly, “I’m busy, go and fuck yourself.”
The phrase was so ingrained in Welles vocabulary that he was even known to sign off letters with it before adding a sarcastic “love, Orson!” so they knew just how hard they could suck his nutsack.