William Randolph Hearst
The trailblazing actor-director was just 24 when he ignited Hearst’s fury with the 1941 film Citizen Kane, inspired by the newspaper mogul’s real life. Hearst felt the film ridiculed his longtime mistress, Marion Davies, and even tried to purchase and burn all prints of the film. He refused to run ads for it in his papers and his defenders intimidated exhibitors with threats of blackmail, bad press and FBI investigations if they screened the film. Their efforts were largely successful: It took nearly a quarter-century for Kane to receive the critical and public acclaim it now receives.
“Hearst and Welles were proud, gifted, and destructive—geniuses each in his way,” said producer Thomas Lennon. “The fight that ruined them both was thoroughly in character with how they’d lived their lives.”