Orson Welles as Unicron and Other Great Actors’ Bizarre Final Roles

Orson Welles as Unicron and Other Great Actors’ Bizarre Final Roles

Orson Welles as Unicron and Other Great Actors’ Bizarre Final Roles

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
June 30 2011 3:07 PM

Orson Welles as Unicron and Other Great Actors’ Bizarre Final Roles

Yesterday in Slate, John Swansburg took the opportunity afforded by the release of Transformers: Dark of the Moon to champion the 1986 animated film Transformers: The Movie as the Autobots finest big-screen outing.

Swansburg also reminds us that Transformers is equally notable for including Orson Welles’ final performance:

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According to the chronology appended to Peter Bogdanovich's This Is Orson Welles, on Oct. 5, 1985, Welles spent the day on the set of Transformers: The Movie, giving voice to Unicron, a villainous, planet-eating planet. On Oct. 10, he was dead. The man's first feature film had been Citizen Kane; his last was an animated movie based on a line of toy robots.

Welles isn’t the only actor to have ended a fabled career with a less-than-lofty film. The great Anne Bancroft’s swan song was 2008’s critically-blasted Delgo, which, as Wikipedia reminds us, was one of the lowest-grossing wide releases in recent history. (Bancroft played the evil queen Sedessa):

Meanwhile, Jimmy Stewart bid farewell to the silver screen with his role as Wylie Burp, a hound-dog sheriff with a disturbing eyeball trick in An American Tail: Fievel Goes West. (A sequel! A sequel! For shame!)

This UGO.com list has a fantastic list with even more terrible final roles by great actors; you haven't lived until you've seen the trailer for Veronica Lake's final film, 1970's Flesh Feast.

Nina Shen Rastogi is a writer and editor, and is also the vice president for content at Figment.