George Orson Welles (May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985) was an American actor, director, screenwriter, and producer who is remembered for his innovative work in film, radio, and theatre. He is considered to be among the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time.At age 21, Welles was directing high-profile stage productions for the Federal Theatre Project in New York City—starting with a celebrated 1936 adaptation of Macbeth with an African-American cast, and ending with the controversial labor opera The Cradle Will Rock in 1937. He and John Houseman then founded the Mercury Theatre, an independent repertory theatre company that presented a series of productions on Broadway through 1941, including a modern, politically charged Caesar (1937). In 1938, his radio anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air gave Welles the platform to find international fame as the director and narrator of a radio adaptation of H. G. Wells's novel The War of the Worlds, which caused some listeners to believe that a Martian invasion was in fact occurring. Although reports of panic were mostly false and overstated, they rocketed 23-year-old Welles to notoriety.