~William Powell~

Born: July 29, 1892 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: March 5, 1984 in Palm Springs, California, USA
~Biography~
Originally planning to become a lawyer, William Powell chose instead to pursue a career as an actor,
dropping out of the University of Kansas to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where his
classmates included Edward G. Robinson and Joseph Schildkraut. He made his Broadway debut in 1912,
and within a few years had attained stardom in urbane, sophisticated roles. The sleek, moustachioed
young actor entered films in 1922, playing the first of many villainous roles in John Barrymore's
Sherlock Holmes. He finally broke out of the bad guy mode when talkies came in; his clipped, precise
speech patterns and authoritative demeanor were ideally suited to such "gentleman detective" roles as
Philo Vance in The Canary Murder Case, the Kennel Murder Case, and others in the Vance series. In 1933
he moved from Warner Bros. to MGM, where he co-starred with Myrna Loy in Manhattan Melodrama
(1934). So well-received was the Powell-Loy screen teaming that the actors were paired together in
several subsequent MGM productions, most memorably the delightful Thin Man series and the 1936
blockbuster The Great Ziegfeld, in which Powell played the title character and Loy was cast as Ziegfeld's
second wife, Billie Burke. Away from the screen for nearly a year due to a serious illness, Powell
returned in 1944, curtailing his film activities thereafter. As he eased into his late fifties he reinvented
himself as a character actor, offering superbly etched performances as a lamebrained crooked politician
in The Senator Was Indiscreet (1947) and the lovably autocratic Clarence Day Sr. in Life With Father
(1947), which earned him his third Academy Award nomination (the others were for The Thin Man and
My Man Godfrey). After playing Doc in the 1955 film version of Mister Roberts, he retired to his lavish,
air-conditioned home in Palm Springs, insisting that he'd return to films if the right role came along but
he turned down all offers. Married three times, Powell's second wife was actress Carole Lombard, with
whom he remained good friends after the divorce, and co-starred with in My Man Godfrey (1936); his
third marriage to MGM starlet Diana Lewis was a happy union that lasted from 1940 until Powell's death
in 1984. It has been said, however, that the great love of William Powell's life was actress Jean Harlow,
to whom he was engaged at the time of her premature death in 1936.~


Biography by Hal Erickson, AllMovie.com
~Silent Filmography~
Mister Roberts (1955) ... Doc
How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) ... J.D. Hanley
The Girl Who Had Everything (1953) ... Steve Latimer
The Treasure of Lost Canyon (1952) ... Homer 'Doc' Brown
It's a Big Country: An American Anthology (1951) ... Professor

Dancing in the Dark (1949) ... Emery Slade
Take One False Step (1949) ... Andrew Gentling
Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948) ... Mr. Peabody
The Senator Was Indiscreet (1947) ... Senator Melvin G. Ashton
Song of the Thin Man (1947) ... Nick Charles
Life with Father (1947) ... Clarence Day - Father
The Great Morgan (1946) ... William Powell (voice, uncredited)
The Hoodlum Saint (1946) ... Terence Ellerton 'Terry' O'Neill
Ziegfeld Follies (1945) ... Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.
The Thin Man Goes Home (1944) ... Nick Charles
The Heavenly Body (1944) ... William S. Whitley
The Youngest Profession (1943) ... William Powell
Crossroads (1942) ... David Talbot
Shadow of the Thin Man (1941) ... Nick Charles
Love Crazy (1941) ... Steve Ireland
I Love You Again (1940) ... Larry Wilson aka George Carey

Another Thin Man (1939) ... Nick Charles
The Baroness and the Butler (1938) ... Johann Porok
Double Wedding (1937) ... Charles Lodge
The Emperor's Candlesticks (1937) ... Baron Stephan Wolensky
The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1937) ... Charles
After the Thin Man (1936) ... Nick Charles
Libeled Lady (1936) ... Bill Chandler
My Man Godfrey (1936) ... Godfrey
The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (1936) ... Dr. Lawrence Bradford
The Great Ziegfeld (1936) ... Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.
Rendezvous (1935) ... Lieutenant Bill Gordon
Escapade (1935) ... Fritz
Reckless (1935) ... Ned Riley
Star of Midnight (1935) ... Clay 'Dal' Dalzell
Evelyn Prentice (1934) ... John Prentice
The Key (1934) ... Capt. Bill Tennant
The Thin Man (1934) ... Nick Charles
Manhattan Melodrama (1934) ... Jim Wade
Fashions of 1934 (1934) ... Sherwood Nash
The Kennel Murder Case (1933) ... Philo Vance
Double Harness (1933) ... John Fletcher
Private Detective 62 (1933) ... Donald Free
Lawyer Man (1932) ... Anton (Tony) Adam
One Way Passage (1932) ... Dan Hardesty
Jewel Robbery (1932) ... The Robber
High Pressure (1932) ... Gar Evans
The Road to Singapore (1931) ... Hugh Dawltry
Ladies' Man (1931) ... Jamie Darricott
Man of the World (1931) ... Michael Trevor
For the Defense (1930) ... William B. Foster
Shadow of the Law (1930) ... Jim Montgomery aka John Nelson
Paramount on Parade (1930) ... Philo Vance (Murder Will Out)
The Benson Murder Case (1930) ... Philo Vance
Street of Chance (1930) ... John D. Marsden / 'Natural' Davis
Behind the Make-Up (1930) ... Gardoni

Pointed Heels (1929) ... Robert Courtland
Charming Sinners (1929) ... Karl Kraley
The Greene Murder Case (1929) ... Philo Vance
The Four Feathers (1929) ... Capt. William Trench
The Canary Murder Case (1929) ... Philo Vance
Interference (1928) ... Philip Voaze
Forgotten Faces (1928) .... Froggy
The Vanishing Pioneer (1928) .... John Murdock
The Dragnet (1928) .... Dapper Frank Trent
... aka The Drag Net (USA: poster title)
Partners in Crime (1928) .... Smith
Feel My Pulse (1928) .... Her Nemesis
Beau Sabreur (1928) .... Becque ... Movie Still Code: 1091-X
The Last Command (1928) .... Lev Andreyev
She's a Sheik (1927) .... Kada
Nevada (1927) .... Clan Dillon
... aka Zane Grey's Nevada (International: English title: poster title)
Paid to Love (1927) .... Prince Eric
Time to Love (1927) .... Prince Alado
Señorita (1927) .... Manuel Oliveros
Special Delivery (1927) .... Harold Jones
Love's Greatest Mistake (1927) .... Don Kendall
New York (1927) .... Trent Regan
The Great Gatsby (1926) .... George Wilson
Tin Gods (1926) .... Tony Santelli
Beau Geste (1926) .... Boldini ... Movie Still Code: 925-X
Aloma of the South Seas (1926) .... Van Templeton
The Runaway (1926) .... Jack Harrison
Desert Gold (1926) .... Snake Landree
Sea Horses (1926) .... Lorenzo Salvia
White Mice (1926) .... Roddy Forrester
The Beautiful City (1925) .... Nick Di Silva
My Lady's Lips (1925) .... Scott Seldon
Faint Perfume (1925) .... Barnaby Powers
Too Many Kisses (1925) .... Julio
Romola (1925) .... Tito Melema
Dangerous Money (1924) .... Prince Arnoldo da Pescia
Under the Red Robe (1923) (as William H. Powell) .... Duke of Orleans
The Bright Shawl (1923) .... Gaspar De Vaca
Outcast (1922) .... DeValle
When Knighthood Was in Flower (1922) .... Francis I
Sherlock Holmes (1922) (as William H. Powell) .... Foreman Wells
... aka Moriarty (UK)