William Powell

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William Horatio Powell (born July 29, 1892 in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania , † March 5, 1984 in Palm Springs , California ) was an American actor whose career began in silent film . Together with Kay Francis Powell formed a screen couple in six films from 1930 to 1932 , between 1934 and 1947 he was seen in 14 films as a partner of Myrna Loy . His best-known roles include appearances as detective Nick Charles in the film series The Thin Man . Powell was nominated three times for the Oscar for best actor .

life and career

William Powell attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and then worked for years on Broadway before he made his debut as a film actor alongside Marion Davies in When Knighthood Was in Flower in 1922 . In 1924 he received a studio contract with Paramount Pictures and then played in numerous productions, including 1928 in Josef von Sternberg's His last command alongside Emil Jannings . However, success did not emerge until the start of the sound film . Powell turned some melodramas with Kay Francis , with whom he moved to Warner Brothers in 1932 alongside Ruth Chatterton . In the same year he had two commercially successful appearances with Francis in A Thief With Class and Journey Of No Return . He finally became a movie star in 1934 after moving to MGM , where he had great success with the role of the wealthy amateur detective Nick Charles in the crime comedy The Thin Man . Powell received his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor for Best Actor at the 1935 Academy Awards for his performance that demonstrated his talent for elegant salon comedies . He received other nominations for My Husband Godfrey and Our Life with Father . With Myrna Loy , with whom he first played melodrama in Manhattan , he formed a screen couple in 14 films up to 1948 , including the six thin-man crime comedies about Nick Charles and his wife Nora.

In 1935 Luise Rainer made her US debut alongside William Powell in Affair, the American remake of the Austrian film Masquerade with Paula Wessely . 1936 was Powell's most successful career year. He played the theater impressario Florenz Ziegfeld junior in the nearly three-hour biopic Der Große Ziegfeld , in which Ziegfield's two wives could be seen, Luise Rainer as Anna Held and Myrna Loy as Billie Burke . The film received the Oscar for best film of the year at the Academy Awards in 1937 , while Rainer was honored as Anna Held as best leading actress for her 20-minute appearance as Anna Held . In the same year was William Powell in the comedy sinners Funny part of the star cast , the next to him Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy and Jean Harlow included. The third commercial success in which Powell starred in 1936 was the screwball comedy My Man Godfrey, in which, with the help of Carole Lombard, he rose from the homeless to the caring butler of an eccentric family.

In 1937 Powell starred in The Last of Mrs. Cheyney alongside Joan Crawford and Robert Montgomery . In 1940 he appeared in Liebling, You Have Changed on again with Myrna Loy as a partner; then he reduced his workload and shot significantly fewer films. In 1947 he starred alongside Irene Dunne in Our Life with Father , the film adaptation of the then most successful Broadway play. In the same year he made his last thin man film, The Song of the Thin Man . His last big screen appearances were in How do you fish for a millionaire? - as an older millionaire who got engaged to a much younger woman, played by Lauren Bacall - and in Mervyn LeRoys No Time for Heroism before he finally retired into private life.

William Powell was married three times, including from 1931 to 1933 in his second marriage to Carole Lombard . He was in a relationship with Jean Harlow for years until her death . In 1940 he married the actress Diana Lewis , with whom he stayed until his death. His only son, William David Powell, committed suicide in 1968 at the age of 42. William Powell died of cardiac arrest in March 1984 at the age of 91 and was buried in the Desert Memorial Park cemetery in Cathedral City , California . A star on Hollywood Boulevard at 1636 Vine Street commemorates the actor.


Oscar / Best Actor

New York Film Critics Circle Award

  • 1947 - Best Actor for Our Life with Father and The Senator was indiscreet

Filmography (selection)

Web links

Commons : William Powell  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. knerger.de: The grave of William Powell