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In My Father's Shadow: A Daughter Remembers Orson Welles
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In My Father's Shadow: A Daughter Remembers Orson Welles

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  94 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Out of all the many stars and celebrities Hollywood has produced, only a handful have achieved the fame—and, some would say, infamy—of Orson Welles, the creator and star of what is arguably the greatest American film, Citizen Kane. Many books have been written about him, detailing his achievements as an artist as well his foibles as a human being. None of them, however ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 8th 2009 by Algonquin Books
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Dec 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Fans of Orson Welles need not look here for a heroic representation of the legend.

Well-written and devoid of any heavy-handed attacks on her after, Chris Welles Feder simply reports her life with her father (or, without her father, as the case may be) as it was. It's in the telling of it that readers come to understand that, at least according to his daughter, Welles was no saint.

And yet, that isn't meant to be disputed. There are more than enough documents in print and film that lay claim to un
Justin  K. Rivers
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Well written memoir about her life in relation to her father. Did a good job balancing the many facets of his character, and did not succumb to the tendency to reduce Welles to one of the handful of typical generalizations about him. Welles, as a person and as an artist, is so fraught with myth that it is difficult sometimes to even discuss him. Christopher's memoir is a significant addition to the canon of Welles biography, a close portrait that captures the nuance of Welles as a family member ...more
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographical
I enjoyed this book very much. It felt like another layer was peeled off of Orson Welles and the book brought him down to earth a little more. I like reading bios from the perspective of those who actually knew the person, in this case, his 1st daughter Christopher.
Linda J. Sandahl
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a personal look at Orson Welles by his oldest daughter. He could not be called an involved father, but there was love between them, and as much contact as his life in later years as essentially an international vagabond allowed. And he at least felt sorry for this -- his interactions with his daughter seem almost apologetic. This memoir is well worth reading and provides a lot of insight into Orson Welles as a private man, rather than as an artist.
Mar 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
I've always been fascinated by Orson Welles. His larger than life career with the tragedy of being banned from Hollywood because of Citizen Kane just seems to play out like a movie of its own.

This book is very different from every other book written by or about Welles. His oldest daughter, Christopher, tells the story of her life and how she tried through the years to remain in his life. Not an easy task as her father and mother divorced when she was very young with Virginia remarrying twice, as
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
More than a few times, my eyes pooled with tears and I swallowed a lump in my throat. This was a beautiful, crushingly heartfelt telling of a daughter's unconditional love for her unpredictable, whirlwind-genius of a father. Honesty is at the heart of this book, and that's what made it such a powerful read for me - though difficult at times, considering his many flaws as well as triumphs - as a fan of Orson Welles. I desperately wanted to get to know who he *really* was, but of course, I discove ...more
Dec 01, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was written by the eldest of Orson Welles' three daughters (each by a different marriage), Christopher Welles Feder. As has been recounted in most of his biographies, Welles was an on-again-and-off-again parent, but when he did send for his oldest daughter to come visit, she basked in his attention. Ms. Feder describes her mother and stepfather as unreasonable monsters throughout most of the book and certainly admits her father would go for years at a time without contacting her. I mai ...more
Steven Witt
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book, written with real heart by Orson's daughter Chris Welles Feder. There are things and insights you could only learn about Orson Welles from his daughter. A great irony is that when Orson Welles' first wife remarried, she married the nephew of Marion Davies. Marion Davies was William Randolph Hearst's mistress. So young Chris Welles ended up spending time with her mother and step father at Hearst's mansion, Hearst Castle in San Simeon, much to the dismay of Hearst. The bo ...more
Leila Kern
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have always been fascinated by Orson Welles; thought he was brilliant. It was interesting to read about him from his daughter's perspective. Flawed that he was in personality, they lived each other. It is nice to read that Christopher came to terms with her relationship with her Dad! Well written book.
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A stunning autobiography written by Orson Welles' eldest daughter, Christopher! Through her memories, stories, pictures, and letters both her life and her father's come to life on the page. She writes of how her father's absence affected her life and also how the moments they shared impacted her in lasting ways. It is a heart-wrenching tale of a daughter's desire to see her father proud of her, of her struggles to be near him, to deal with his absence, to overcome his death, and finally, to come ...more
Jul 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
There are many emotions this book elicited. Chris Feder was able to share some of the gifts and characteristics of her famous Father while divulging some of the failings and disappointments she encountered during her childhood, and later years. Orson Welles always fascinated me, and within the pages of this book, he comes alive. Obviously a genius, his life was filled with many triumphs along with many failures. The author includes numerous interesting experiences she had with her Father while l ...more
Carolyn Kellogg
Dec 14, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Chris Welles Feder tells great stories about her father in during the golden age of Hollywood, but there's something unsettling about reading a memoir in which the protagonist slips into the shadows of her famous father.

I reviewed this book for the California Report, heard on radio stations across California.
Wilde Sky
Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
The daughter of a famous father recounts her life and their encounters.

I didn’t find the first few chapters interesting then the accounts of the adult meetings and details of the unusual / driven lifestyle grabbed my attention.

A lot of the father / child interactions will ring true with many people.
Jun 06, 2013 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the beginning of the story where Christopher sought more time with her father. I didn't like the long drawn out description of the film festivals Christopher attended after her father's death in the final quarter of the book.
Feb 02, 2015 rated it liked it
On the whole, I enjoyed this look into the man behind the artist.
Rose Anderson
Mar 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Debra Gniewek
Feb 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Katie Shirley
Apr 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I got the book because of Orson Welles, and I read the book because Chris Welles Feder is an excellent writer. A very entertaining read.
Apr 19, 2010 added it
Fast, one-evening read.
Ellen Schauer
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Mar 12, 2015
Emma Nicol
rated it it was ok
Aug 28, 2014
Leslie Fisher
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Aug 23, 2011
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May 29, 2017
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Jul 27, 2015
Cindy Goalder
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Apr 18, 2016
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Mar 16, 2014
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Aug 24, 2011
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Jun 02, 2011
Deborah Held
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Dec 26, 2015
R.J. McHatton
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Sep 29, 2015
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Chris Welles Feder has spent a great part of her life working in the field of education and is known to many as a writer for the children's educational series Brain Quest. She lives with her husband in New York City.


More about Chris Welles Feder