Orson Welles attended the Todd School for Boys from 1926 to 1931. He formed a lasting friendship with his mentor, headmaster Roger "Skipper" Hill. His 95-year-old daughter, Joanne Hill Tarbox Styles, has written an essay on Welles' time in Woodstock, Illinois. Styles was married for than 50 years to Welles' childhood rival, Hascy Tarbox. Wellesnet would like to thank Ms. Styles and Academy Award winning filmmaker Chuck Workman of the upcoming "The Magician" for the opportunity to share her recollections with our readers.
Orson Welles at the Todd School for Boys in Woodstock, Illinois, circa 1930.
By JOANNE HILL TARBOX STYLES
Orson Welles came to the Todd School in 1926 when he was 11 and I was 9 years old. We were not that far apart in age, but his scope of knowledge of the world's literature, geography, history music, fine arts, and drama was generations ahead of mine.
This was a very unusual boy. He had need of a very unusual education. My father, especially, but also my mother was very enamored, captivated and charmed by this out-of-the-ordinary youth. He was warmly welcomed into our family apartment in Wallingford Hall.
My parents enjoyed visiting with him. His visits were a daily occurrence. Here was a boy who could have a discussion about China, Europe, Toulouse Lautrec, Renoir, Mozart, Hugo, Voltaire and Shakespeare and many, many others. I was furious! Why would my parents spend hours with Orson, when they wouldn't spend much time with me?
One day I tore into Orson, telling him just what I thought of his behavior, which was certainly very negative, He looked at me with a condescending, supercilious smile and said "Joanne, everyone has their little idiosyncrasies" and (more...)