George Orson Welles (May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985) was an Academy Award-winning American director, writer, actor and producer for film, stage, radio and television. Welles first gained wide notoriety for his October 30, 1938 radio broadcast of H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. Adapted to sound like a contemporary news broadcast, it caused a large number of listeners to panic. Welles was increasingly active on radio, as an actor and soon as a director and producer. He played Hamlet for CBS on The Columbia Workshop, adapting and directing the play himself. The Mutual Network gave him a seven-week series to adapt Les Misérables, which he did with great success. Welles was chosen to anonymously play Lamont Cranston, The Shadow, in late 1937 (again for Mutual) and in the summer of 1938 CBS gave him (and the Mercury Theatre) a weekly hour-long show to broadcast radio plays based on classic literary works. The show was titled The Mercury Theatre on the Air, with original music by Bernard Herrmann, who would continue working with Welles on radio and in films for years. Their October 30 broadcast, H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, brought Welles notoriety and instant fame on both a national and international level. The fortuitous mixture of news bulletin format with the between-breaks dial spinning habits of listeners from the rival and far more popular Edgar Bergen/Charlie McCarthy program, created widespread confusion among late tuners. Panic spread among many listeners who believed the news reports of an actual Martian invasion. The resulting panic was duly reported around the world and disparagingly mentioned by Adolf Hitler in a public speech a few months later. Welles' growing fame soon drew Hollywood offers, lures which the independent-minded Welles resisted at first. However, The Mercury Theatre on the Air, which had been a 'sustaining show' (without sponsorship) was picked up by Campbell Soup and renamed The Campbell Playhouse. Welles died of a heart attack at his home in Hollywood, California at age 70 on October 10, 1985. He had various projects underway, including a film adaptation of King Lear, The Orson Welles Magic Show, and The Dreamers. His final interview had been recorded the day before, on The Merv Griffin Show.