Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Orson Welles' Underpants

Orson Welles in 1955.

My aunt Ann Rogers was Orson Welles' private secretary and all-round fixer from 1955 until 1979.  

An extremely discreet woman, she worked quietly and invisibly behind the scenes (though sometimes telling me good stories about OW's adventures), proud to devote herself to his genius.

Orson Welles in 1983.

So I was a bit surprised when someone drew my attention to her name in print in this newspaper article which highlights a new book about Welles by Dorian Bond. My aunt, whose methods Bond describes as like 'working for the SOE, sending agents off on deadly missions', has been briefly exposed in the pages of the Daily Mail.

Which has reminded me of one of her most covert operations, forwarding underpants to Orson Welles.  She wrapped them in a large parcel and gave it to my father who was passing through London on his way to California where Welles was living at the time.  

But my father (my aunt's younger brother) was an unreliable agent.  He could not resist peeping inside.  And kept a pair of OW's underpants as a souvenir.  Afterwards my brother tried them on with the result you see below.

My brother Anton, left, and his friend Tom, trying on Orson Welles' underpants in 1983.