Orson Welles and Roger Hill: A Friendship in Three Acts

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Orson Welles and Roger Hill: A Friendship in Three Acts chronicles the seven-decade relationship between Orson Welles and his mentor and treasured friend, the author’s grandfather, Roger Hill. Welles’s attachment to Hill was instant, reciprocal, and developed into an enduring love. Their intimate conversations and correspondence revealed in Friendship— at times frothy, and at other times solemn—reflect their incalculable interests and abiding fascination with the human comedy.

Orson was recognized by multitudes around the world, and his celebrity hasn’t diminished since his death in 1985. His public persona is widely known, admired, and debated, but very few knew the private Orson Welles. That fascinating and uncommonly warm persona is radiantly revealed in every page, as is the equally charismatic nature of Roger Hill.
Reflecting on the book, fellow director and author of This is Orson Welles, Peter Bogdanovich observed: “I found Orson Welles and Roger Hill: A Friendship in Three Acts fascinating, touching, and revealing of Orson and Roger. It certainly is the Orson I knew in all his complexity and brilliance.”
English actor, writer, director, and author of Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu, and Orson Welles: Hello Americans, the first two of an eventual three-volume Welles biography, Simon Callow, asserted:  I read Orson Welles and Roger Hill: A Friendship in Three Acts with absolute delight. At last I have what I have been looking for in vain till now: the sound of Welles’s private voice, the warmth, easiness, modesty, fantasy of which so many have spoken but which none have been able to reproduce. Here it is at last, along with the moving revelation of the depth of feeling between Orson Welles and Roger Hill: the undeviating, unconditional, but intelligent love in which Orson clearly rejoices, and by which he is so evidently sustained, even through the worst reverses and most bitter disappointments.”
American film critic and author of Discovering Orson Welles, Jonathan Rosenbaum, said of Orson Welles and Roger Hill: A Friendship in Three Acts:  “The major and longest-lasting close friendship of Orson Welles’s life was with one of his earliest role models—his teacher, advisor, and theatrical mentor at the Todd School who later became the school’s headmaster, Roger Hill. Hill’s grandson, Todd Tarbox, has given us invaluable and candidly intimate glimpses into many of its stages.”
About the Author: Todd Tarbox was born in Chicago, Illinois.  He is the author of See the World, Imagine, and co-editor of Footprints of Young Explorers. Tarbox lives in Barrington Hills, Illinois.

         The 2013 calendar year has provided enough new Welles material to make the case for his lasting iconography…  Welles managed to know so many people and go so many places that the very narrative of his existence provides a rich conduit to any number of eras and topics in twentieth century history.  Todd Tarbox’s Orson Welles and Roger Hill: A Friendship in Three Acts tracks the writer-director-actor-thinker through a series of warm conversations with his lifelong mentor, whom he met while attending the Woodstock, Illinois boys’ school where the actor developed his many trades…  Tarbox plays up the eloquence that emerges from the synthesis of two active minds in conversation and strikes a nostalgic tone by tracking the decline of educated approaches to artistic creation.  Welles and Tarbox seemingly exist in an echo chamber divorced from the rush of the commercial world.

— Cineaste Magazine



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