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There’s a famous story about Orson Welles going to Pink’s and consuming 17 hot dogs. Is this true?

Illustration by Jason Schneider

Paul and Betty Pink opened their Hollywood hot dog stand in 1939, just before Welles began work on Citizen Kane. While the legendary actor-auteur was an enthusiastic patron, it’s unlikely he publicly enjoyed a double-digit wiener binge. Welles confidant Peter Bogdanovich tells me the director was a “secret eater” who preferred indulging in private. “People loved to gloat over his weight,” Bogdanovich says, “because they felt it would diminish his genius in some strange way.” For the record, Merv Griffin once told (with relish) a version of this story in which a chauffeur carries the goods to a car, but it’s a little light on details. I agree with Bogdanovich: This tale probably has a few fillers.