Biography

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William Horatio Powell (July 29, 1892 – March 5, 1984) was an American actor. A major star at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, he was paired with Myrna Loy in 14 films, including the Thin Man series based on the Nick and Nora Charles characters created by Dashiell Hammett. Powell was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor three times: for The Thin Man (1934), My Man Godfrey (1936), and Life with Father (1947).

After high school, he left home for New York and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts at the age of 18. In 1912, Powell graduated from the AADA, and worked in some vaudeville and stock companies. After several successful experiences on the Broadway stage, he began his Hollywood career in 1922, playing a small role as an evil henchman of Professor Moriarty in a production of Sherlock Holmes with John Barrymore. His most memorable role in silent movies was as a bitter film director opposite Emil Jannings' Academy Award-winning performance as a fallen general in The Last Command (1928). This success, along with Powell's pleasant speaking voice, led to his first starring role as amateur detective Philo Vance in the "talkie" The Canary Murder Case (1929).

Powell's most famous role was that of Nick Charles in six Thin Man films, beginning with The Thin Man in 1934, based upon Dashiell Hammett's novel. The role provided a perfect opportunity for Powell, with his resonant speaking voice, to showcase his sophisticated charm and witty sense of humor, and he received his first Academy Award nomination for The Thin Man. Myrna Loy played his wife, Nora, in each of the Thin Man films. Their on-screen partnership, beginning alongside Clark Gable in 1934 with Manhattan Melodrama, was one of Hollywood's most prolific, and they appeared in 14 films together.

Loy and Powell starred in the Best Picture of 1936, The Great Ziegfeld, with Powell in the title role and Loy as Ziegfeld's wife Billie Burke. That same year, he also received his second Academy Award nomination, for the comedy My Man Godfrey.

In 1935, he starred with Jean Harlow in Reckless. A serious romance developed between them, and in 1936, they were reunited on screen and with Loy and Spencer Tracy in the screwball comedy Libeled Lady. However, Harlow surprisingly and quickly became ill, and died from uremia at the age of 26 in June 1937 before they could marry. His distress over her death, as well as a cancer diagnosis of his own, caused him to accept fewer acting roles. Powell's career slowed considerably in the 1940s, although he received his third Academy Award nomination in 1947 for his role as the cantankerous Clarence Day, Sr., in Life with Father. His last film was 1955's Mister Roberts.

Powell died in Palm Springs, California, on March 5, 1984, at the age of 91 from heart failure, nearly 30 years after his retirement. He is buried at the Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California, near his third wife Diana Lewis, and his only child, his son William David Powell.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William Horatio Powell (July 29, 1892 – March 5, 1984) was an American actor. A major star at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, he was paired with Myrna Loy in 14 films, including the Thin Man series based on the Nick and Nora Charles characters created by Dashiell Hammett. Powell was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor three times: for The Thin Man (1934), My Man Godfrey (1936), and Life with Father (1947).

After high school, he left home for New York and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts at the age of 18. In 1912, Powell graduated from the AADA, and worked in some vaudeville and stock companies. After several successful experiences on the Broadway stage, he began his Hollywood career in 1922, playing a small role as an evil henchman of Professor Moriarty in a production of Sherlock Holmes with John Barrymore. His most memorable role in silent movies was as a bitter film director opposite Emil Jannings' Academy Award-winning performance as a fallen general in The Last Command (1928). This success, along with Powell's pleasant speaking voice, led to his first starring role as amateur detective Philo Vance in the "talkie" The Canary Murder Case (1929).

Powell's most famous role was that of Nick Charles in six Thin Man films, beginning with The Thin Man in 1934, based upon Dashiell Hammett's novel. The role provided a perfect opportunity for Powell, with his resonant speaking voice, to showcase his sophisticated charm and witty sense of humor, and he received his first Academy Award nomination for The Thin Man. Myrna Loy played his wife, Nora, in each of the Thin Man films. Their on-screen partnership, beginning alongside Clark Gable in 1934 with Manhattan Melodrama, was one of Hollywood's most prolific, and they appeared in 14 films together.

Loy and Powell starred in the Best Picture of 1936, The Great Ziegfeld, with Powell in the title role and Loy as Ziegfeld's wife Billie Burke. That same year, he also received his second Academy Award nomination, for the comedy My Man Godfrey.

In 1935, he starred with Jean Harlow in Reckless. A serious romance developed between them, and in 1936, they were reunited on screen and with Loy and Spencer Tracy in the screwball comedy Libeled Lady. However, Harlow surprisingly and quickly became ill, and died from uremia at the age of 26 in June 1937 before they could marry. His distress over her death, as well as a cancer diagnosis of his own, caused him to accept fewer acting roles. Powell's career slowed considerably in the 1940s, although he received his third Academy Award nomination in 1947 for his role as the cantankerous Clarence Day, Sr., in Life with Father. His last film was 1955's Mister Roberts.

Powell died in Palm Springs, California, on March 5, 1984, at the age of 91 from heart failure, nearly 30 years after his retirement. He is buried at the Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California, near his third wife Diana Lewis, and his only child, his son William David Powell.

Personal Info

Known For Acting

Gender Male

Known Credits 111

Birthday 1892-07-29

Day of Death 1984-03-05

Place of Birth Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • William H. Powell
  • Уильям Пауэлл

Acting TV ShowsMovies

2005 William Powell: A True Gentleman
2005 Alias Nick and Nora as Nick
1993 Harlow: The Blonde Bombshell as Himself
1991 Hollywood Remembers: Myrna Loy - So Nice to Come Home to as (archive footage)
1988 James Stewart's Wonderful Life as (archive footage)
1986 The Spencer Tracy Legacy: A Tribute by Katharine Hepburn
1983 Hollywood Out-takes and Rare Footage as Himself (archive footage)
1976 That's Entertainment, Part II as (archive footage)
1975 Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? as (archive footage)
1964 The Big Parade of Comedy as Nick Charles (archive footage)
1955 Mister Roberts as Lt. 'Doc'
1953 How to Marry a Millionaire as J.D. Hanley
1953 The Girl Who Had Everything as Steve Latimer
1952 The Treasure of Lost Canyon as Homer 'Doc' Brown
1951 It's a Big Country as Professor
1949 Dancing in the Dark as Emery Slade
1949 Take One False Step as Professor Andrew Gentling
1948 Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid as Mr. Peabody
1947 The Senator Was Indiscreet as Senator Melvin G. Ashton
1947 Life with Father as Clarence Day Sr.
1947 Song of the Thin Man as Nick Charles
1946 The Hoodlum Saint as Terence Ellerton 'Terry' O'Neill
1945 Ziegfeld Follies as Flo Ziegfeld
1945 The Thin Man Goes Home as Nick Charles
1945 The Great Morgan
1944 The Heavenly Body as William S. Whitley
1944 Twenty Years After
1943 The Youngest Profession as Himself - Guest Star
1942 Crossroads as David Talbot aka Jean Pelletier
1941 Shadow of the Thin Man as Nick Charles
1941 Love Crazy as Steve Ireland
1940 I Love You Again as Larry Wilson aka George Carey
1940 Hollywood: Style Center of the World as Himself
1940 The Miracle of Sound
1939 From the Ends of the Earth
1939 Another Thin Man as Nick Charles
1938 The Baroness and the Butler as Johann Porok
1937 Double Wedding as Charles Lodge
1937 The Romance of Celluloid
1937 The Emperor's Candlesticks as Baron Stephan Wolensky
1937 The Last of Mrs. Cheyney as Charles
1936 After the Thin Man as Nick Charles
1936 Libeled Lady as William 'Bill' Stephens Chandler
1936 My Man Godfrey as Godfrey
1936 The Ex-Mrs. Bradford as Dr. Lawrence Bradford
1936 The Great Ziegfeld as Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.
1935 Rendezvous as Lt. William 'Bill' Gordon / Anson Meridan
1935 Escapade as Fritz
1935 Star of Midnight as Clay 'Dal' Dalzell
1935 Reckless as Ned Riley
1934 Evelyn Prentice as John Prentice
1934 The Key as Capt. Bill Tennant
1934 The Thin Man as Nick Charles
1934 Manhattan Melodrama as Jim Wade
1934 Fashions of 1934 as Sherwood Nash
1933 The Kennel Murder Case as Philo Vance
1933 Double Harness as John Fletcher
1933 Private Detective 62 as Donald Free
1933 Lawyer Man as Anton Adam
1932 One Way Passage as Dan Hardesty
1932 Jewel Robbery as The Robber
1932 High Pressure as Gar Evans
1931 The Road to Singapore as Hugh Dawltry
1931 Ladies' Man as Jamie Darricott
1931 Man of the World as Michael Trevor
1930 For the Defense as William Foster
1930 Shadow of the Law as Jim Montgomery aka John Nelson
1930 Paramount on Parade as Philo Vance
1930 The Benson Murder Case as Philo Vance
1930 Street of Chance as John D. Marsden / 'Natural' Davis
1930 Behind the Make-Up as Gardoni
1929 Pointed Heels as Robert Courtland
1929 Charming Sinners as Karl Kraley
1929 The Greene Murder Case as Philo Vance
1929 The Four Feathers as Capt. William Trench
1929 The Canary Murder Case as Philo Vance
1928 Interference as Philip Voaze
1928 Forgotten Faces as Froggy
1928 The Vanishing Pioneer
1928 The Dragnet
1928 Partners in Crime as Smith
1928 Feel My Pulse as Her Nemesis
1928 The Last Command as Lev Andreyev
1928 Beau Sabreur
1927 She's a Sheik as Kada
1927 Nevada as Clan Dillon
1927 Paid to Love as Prince Eric
1927 Time to Love
1927 Special Delivery as Harold Jones
1927 Senorita as Manuel Oliveros
1927 Love's Greatest Mistake
1927 New York
1926 The Great Gatsby as George Wilson
1926 Tin Gods as Tony Santelli
1926 Beau Geste as Boldini
1926 Aloma of the South Seas as Van Templeton
1926 The Runaway as Jack Harrison
1926 Desert Gold
1926 Sea Horses
1926 White Mice
1925 The Beautiful City as Nick Di Silva
1925 My Lady's Lips
1925 Faint Perfume
1925 Too Many Kisses as Julio
1924 Romola as Tito Melema
1924 Dangerous Money
1923 Under the Red Robe
1923 The Bright Shawl as Gaspar De Vaca
1922 Outcast
1922 When Knighthood Was in Flower as Francis I (as William H. Powell)
1922 Sherlock Holmes as Forman Wells

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