Shop by the Stars aisle featuring William Powell (1892-1984) vintage movie cards, still photos, ephemera, and other collectibles.
Pittsburgh, PA born screen legend by way of Kansas City, MO, Powell was often cast as the silent screen villain before the talkies revealed him as the ultimate charming sophisticate. Entered the American Academy of Dramatic Arts at age eighteen and graduated two years later in 1912. He had some bit roles on the stage and took his turn in vaudeville before landing a spot for two years as the villain in the road show of Within the Law. Had a few Broadway appearances, most of them brief. Powell's film debut came in Sherlock Holmes (1922), with other notable silent film appearances including When Knighthood Was in Flower (1922), Romola (1924), Beau Geste (1926), and Josef von Sternberg's The Last Command (1928). He was in Paramount's first all-talkie, Interference (1928), and was the screen's first Philo Vance in The Canary Murder Case (1929), a part he'd play in three more features. He formed a successful team with Kay Francis in six features beginning in 1930 at Paramount continuing through 1932 after the pair had jumped to Warner Bros. Of course, Powell's greatest pairings came after he arrived at MGM when Manhattan Melodrama (1934) placed him alongside Myrna Loy, who he'd share the screen with in a total of fourteen features, including the six Thin Man pictures. The first of those, The Thin Man (1934), brought Powell his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, an honor he was also considered for for his work in My Man Godfrey (1936) and Life With Father (1947). Godfrey co-star Carole Lombard had been Powell's second wife, though by that time they had divorced and Powell was involved with Jean Harlow, who he was engaged to at the time of her tragic death in 1937, an all-around terrible year for Powell, who was also diagnosed with rectal cancer before the calendar turned. He underwent successful treatment and then returned to the screen somewhat regularly from the 1940s up until his final role as Doc in Mister Roberts (1955). Powell had married a third time to actress Diana Lewis, who survived him at his death, decades after his final film, at age 91.
Birthday: July 29