Charles Foster Kane
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Charles Foster Kane

Citizen Kane

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About Him

Grew Up... in poverty in Colorado. Though that all changed when the world’s third-largest gold mine was discovered on land owned by his mother.

Living… on his palatial estate Xanadu, secluded from the world, with only his wife Susan and the rest of his possessions. Xanadu stretches for nearly 40 miles along Florida’s Gulf Coast. The land used to be flat and mostly barren, but Kane oversaw the construction of rolling hills and even a good-sized mountain. Consider it a literal demonstration of Kane’s belief in completely controlling his environment.

Profession… newspaper baron and all-around tycoon. Kane oversees the empire he built for himself. At least that’s the way he sees it, though he was certainly helped by the gold-based family fortune that he gained control of at age 25. But Kane then turned that wealth into an empire that, at its peak, held dominion over 37 newspapers, 13 magazines, and a radio network. Not to mention grocery stores, paper mills, apartment buildings, factories, forests, ocean liners – everything.

Interests… keeping to himself and trying his best to avoid the world that turned its back on him. Susan gets tired of Charles’s reclusive habits and wants to invite people for a ski retreat. But the way he sees it, who wants to sleep in tents when they have a nice room of their own – with their own bath, where they know where everything is?

Relationship Status… married to Susan, his second wife. She started out as his mistress, but the fun and passion they had then hasn’t always translated well to married life. Charles does seem to want to be loved, but it’s his ability – or rather, his inability – to express love in return that is usually the problem.

Challenge… losing his grip on the world. What’s the point of being one of the richest and most powerful men on the planet if you can’t bend people to your will? Kane’s professional life has generally encompassed one business conquest after another, at least for a long stretch. But he often tries to conquer people as well, and that can be a recipe for unhappiness and loneliness. If Kane no longer feels like he can dictate events, not even his great wealth will keep him from feeling powerless.

Personality… ambitious, controlling, and complex. As he once put it, “There's only one person in the world who’s going to decide what I'm going to do, and that's me.” And for the most part, that’s absolutely true. But a man who entirely keeps his own counsel on matters both professional and personal has to be careful that he doesn’t end up utterly alone.

Charles Foster Kane's popularity ranking on CharacTour is #2141 out of 5,600+ characters. See our top-ranked characters and read their profiles.

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