Oja Kodar Biography

Oja Kodar, a Croatian actor, screenwriter, and producer, gained recognition for her relationship with renowned American film director Orson Welles. Despite their initial meeting when she was quite young and Welles being already married, their affair flourished in the later years of his life. Kodar has been involved in numerous unfinished projects of Welles, including collaborations on films like ‘The Deep,’ ‘F for Fake,’ ‘The Dreamers,’ and ‘Don Quixote.’ However, it was her association with the long-delayed and controversial project ‘The Other Side of the Wind’ that brought her into the spotlight and faced significant criticism. Alongside her work with Welles, Kodar has also established herself with independent credits. Although they never married, she has inherited a substantial portion of Welles’s estate.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Olga Palinkaš
  • Age: 82 Years, 82 Year Old Females
  • Born Country: Croatia/hrvatska
  • Occupations: Actresses, Screenwriters
  • Ancestry: Hungarian Croatian

Early Life & Career

Oja Kodar was born Olga Palinkaš in 1941 in Zagreb, Croatia. Her father was Hungarian and her mother was Croatian.

In 1966, Kodar and her lover, Orson Welles, began shooting the film ‘The Deep’ on the Yugoslav coast. Welles had cast Kodar in one of the lead roles. The film was an adaptation of Charles Williams’s novel ‘Dead Calm.’ However, due to financial and technical difficulties, the film was shelved and never completed.

Kodar blamed co-star Jeanne Moreau for the fate of the project, claiming that Moreau had never wanted the film to be completed and had not dubbed her lines. However, film editor Mauro Bonanni claimed that Welles had abandoned the project because he found Kodar ill-suited for her role.

In 1970, Welles began shooting his experimental feature ‘The Other Side of the Wind’ (TOSOTW). Kodar claimed that she had co-written the screenplay with Welles. The film was known for its unconventional style and was intended to be a groundbreaking project. However, it faced numerous legal, financial, and political issues and was never completed during Welles’s lifetime.

After Welles’s death, several attempts were made to restart the project. It was finally completed in 2018 under the direction of Peter Bogdanovich and produced by Frank Marshall. The film received critical acclaim.

Kodar also co-wrote the 1973 documentary ‘F for Fake’ with Welles. The film included stories about their life as a couple and became a classic due to its unique editing techniques.

Kodar and Welles also wrote the feature ‘The Dreamers’ in 1980, but the project was declined by the producers.

Kodar directed her first film, ‘Jaded,’ in 1989. She also co-produced the film and starred in it.

She later worked on the release of Welles’s unfinished film ‘Don Quixote’ and directed the war drama ‘Vrijeme za…’ in 1993. She also co-directed and co-wrote the documentary ‘Orson Welles: The One-Man Band’ in 1995.

Her Relationship with Welles

Kodar met Welles in 1961 on the set of his film ‘The Trial.’ They began a relationship in 1966, despite Welles still being married to his third wife. Their relationship became public in 1970. Welles gave Kodar her stage name, ‘Oja Kodar,’ which means ‘as a present’ in Croatian.

Their relationship caused controversy, especially when it was revealed that Welles’s third wife had no knowledge of the affair until 1984. Welles spent his final years with Kodar at his Hollywood house.

Welles passed away in 1985, and his estate was distributed between Kodar and his daughter with his third wife.

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