Legendary actor, Tyrone Power, was born Tyrone Edmund Power Jr. on May 5, 1914 in Cincinnati, OH. Power appeared in 50 film roles. His best known films include The Black Swan, The Mark of Zorro, Witness for the Prosecution, Marie Antoinette, Blood and Sand, Prince of Foxes, and Captain from Castile. Power died at the age of 44 on Nov 15, 1958 in Madrid, Spain and was laid to rest in Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, CA.
Tyrone Edmund Power, Jr. was born on May 5th, 1914 in Cincinnati, Ohio and came from a long line of theatre actors. His father, Tyrone, Sr., was a screen actor and his grandmother was stage actress Ethel Lavenu. His mother, Helen, was a stage actress who had distant relations to Laurence Olivier. As a baby, Power's earliest year was marked by illness caused by brutal Cincinnati winters. To combat his delicate health, the family moved west to California at the behest of their family physician in 1915. His sister, Anne, was born shortly after. Power's mother and father continued acting while in California, even appearing on stage together. Soon, however, Tyrone Power, Sr. would begin to travel more and more frequently to New York for stage productions. By 1920, he and his wife would separate.
After the divorce, Tyrone and his sister would stay with their mother, who was now supporting the family as a stage actress. According to Tyrone-Power.com, Power made his amateur stage debut at the tender age of seven along side his mother in La Golondrina. Two years later, in 1923, the family returned to Cincinnati, where Ethel made a living as a drama/voice voice coach. During this time, she would also coach young Power in those areas. Because of this, and the encouragement he received from both his parents, Power developed a strong interest in acting. During his senior year of High School Power played the lead role in the senior production of Officer 666. After gradating High School in 1931, he headed back west to live with his father to try his hand at acting. Their together, however, was to be cut tragically short when the elder Power would succumb to a hear attack while preparing for the film The Miracle Man. The younger Power held him in his arms as he died. As result, young Trone was left grief stricken, alone, and utterly broke. Although he tried to use his father's name to further himself in Hollywood, only managed to find a small role in Tom Brown of Culver. With little success in Hollywood, Power's decided to head east to try his hand at the stage.
After leaving Hollywood Power found himself in Chicago visiting his friend, Don Ameche. He managed to convince Power so stay in the Windy City and work in its growing radio industry. Power also began concentrating more on his stage acting and found steady work in stock companies. He eventually was cast in a major role in the play Romance which ran for eight weeks. Although able to make some money in Chicago, he felt that his career was stagnating and soon left for New York.
Thanks to some family connections, when Power arrived in New York he was able to find work as an understudy for the play The Flowers of the Forest. Although he worked under three separate actors, Burgess Meredith, John Emery and Hugh Williams, they never missed performance. In the summer of 1935 Power headed towards New England to join a stock Company in Massachusetts, staying with them for the summer season to work on his craft. Upon returning to New York, he was cast in 1935 Katharine Cornell production of Romeo and Juliet as Benvolio. The play marked his Broadway acting debut. Although Hollywood talent scouts soon came for Power, he listened to the advice of Cornell and remained in New York to improve his acting skills. Cornell then cast him with much larger role in the 1936 play Saint Joan. When Hollywood once again came knocking, this time Power answered.
When Power returned to Hollywood in 1936, he immediately did a screen test for 20th Century Fox. Although reluctant to sign the beautiful, young actor, Darryl F. Zanuck offered Power a seven-year contract. He was quickly cast in the film Sing, Baby, Sing, at the behest of Alice Faye, but was soon fired by the director, who thought Power had no future in acting. Faye, however, insisted the young man be cast in another film and was given a small speaking part at the end of Girls' Dormitory. Although his part was small, female audiences immediately took notice of the handsome, young actor. It is reported Hedda Hopper stayed for second screening, just to find out the name of this new actor. He was then given another bit role in the Loretta Young, Constance Bennett film Ladies in Love. Hoping for more substantial roles, Power approached director Henry King for a role. The director was impressed with young mans look and personality that he asked Zanuck to cast him as the lead in his next film Lloyd's of London. Although Powers was billed forth in the film, he actually had more screen time than the other players. Although he was a relative unknown when the film was released, he soon became Hollywood's newest star.
After the tremendous success of Lloyd's of London, Fox immediately began to put their new star front and center. He received top billing for his next film Love Is News, much to chagrin of his costar, Loretta Young. The film was a hit, and solidified Power's spot as Fox's most popular leading man. For the rest of decade and into the 1940's Fox cast Power in their most important films. In 1937 he starred in four for more including Cafe Metropole, Thin Ice and In Old Chicago. The next year, Power was loaned out to MGM for the lavish period piece Marie Antoinette opposite Norma Shearer. However, Zanuck felt the studio underutilized Fox's biggest star by putting him in what amounted to a supporting role. After that, Zanuck made the decision to never loan Power out again. Although Power was request for various high-profile films through out his career, including Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind, Zanuck stayed true to his word. As the end of the decade approached, Power's star only grew. Three of his films, Alexander's Ragtime Band, Marie Antoinette, and In Old Chicago were included in the Film Daily top ten movies of 1938. In 1939 he starred in his first Technicolor film, Jesse James, opposite Henry Fonda. The film was a massive critical and commercial hit, warranting multiple re-releases for the next decade. By the end of the decade Power was the second biggest box- office draw, only behind Mickey Rooney.
In 1940 Power starred in the swashbuckling adventure flick The Mask of Zorro. His turn as the masked bandit was an enormous hit. Thanks to his great talents as a swordsman, fans and critics especially regarded the dueling scene as the films highlight. The film was since been regarded as Power's signature role. After the success of Zorro, Power's onscreen persona was shifted towards adventurous swashbucklers. He next starred as the bull fighting Juan in Blood and Sand opposite Rita Hayworth and the film was hit. He next starred in the "call to action" propagandist war film A Yank in the R.A.F. In 1942 he continued to show his swashbuckling skills with films like The Black Swan and Son of Fury: The Story of Benjamin Blake. He completed one more film, Crash Dive, before enrolling in the military.
Military and Post-War Career
At the end of 1942 Power enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Although the studio offered to get him an officer's commission, he started out as private. After completing boot camp in San Diego, he was then sent to the Officer's Candidate School at Quantico and by June 2, 1943, he was promoted to Second Lieutenant. Thanks to the 180 hours he logged as a pilot before joining the military, Power was able to go through a short flight-training program before earning his wings and earning a promotion to First Lieutenant. In 1945 he was assigned to the Marshall Islands and from there flew missions carrying both cargo and wounded soldiers in and out of the Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, while under heavy fire from the enemy. For his service, he was awarded the American Campaign Medal, The World War II Victory Medal, and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze stars.
Upon returning from war, Power requested that be given devious acting roles, instead of the swashbuckling romance films he had been doing years prior. As a result, Zanuck cast Power in the drama The Razor's Edge opposite Gene Tierney. The film was a huge hit and showed Power's was still popular with post war audiences. It was that very popularity that made his next film, Nightmare Alley, so difficult to produce. For Power's next project, he hoped to star in the gritty, film-noir Nightmare Alley. Zanuck, however, felt the film was too dark and the role too villainous for the Studios most popular leading man and could hurt Power's money-making image. Although Zanuck agreed, he refused to publicize it and despite the rave reviews Power received for his performance, the film died at the box office. After Power's short courtships with the grittier side of filmic life, Zanuck immediately casts him in another swashbuckling adventure with Captain from Castile. For the next few years, Power was continually cast in films such in either more costume pieces such as The Black Rose or lighthearted comedic fair such as The Wonderful Urge.
Later Career and Life
By the 1950's Power was unhappy with his roles assignment by Fox and was given permission to seek roles outside of the studios. In 1950 he starred in the play Mister Roberts at the London Coliseum. The play would last run for six months. Two years later, Powers would return to the stage for the very successful touring production of John Brown's Body opposite Raymond Massey and Dame Judith Anderson. The next year Power would revive the role on Broadway, also marking his last Broadway performance. In 1955 Power starred in Henry King's Untamed, marking not only last of his 11-film collaboration with King, his final film under contract at Fox as well. Later that year, he starred the extremely successful John Ford film The Long Gray Line for Columbia pictures. In 1957 Power starred in his final role in the Billy Wilder's big screen adaption of the Agatha Christie novel The Witness for the Prosecution. In the film, he plays against type as the accused murder, Leonard Vole and received some of the best reviews of his life. In 1958 he began filming for the film Solomon and Sheba. While shooting a dueling scene with George Sanders, he suffered a massive heart attack. Tyrone Powers died on November 15th, 1958 on route to the hospital. He was 44 years old.(Source: article by Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub).
HONORS and AWARDS:.
He was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures. Tyrone Power's handprints and footprints were 'set in stone' at Grauman's Chinese Theater during imprint ceremony #37 on May 31, 1937. He appears on the cover of The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Power was never nominated for an Academy Award.
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David C. Augur: Do you know the oldest and noblest occupation of them all?
Stephen Fitzgerald: I think so.
David C. Augur: [after an embarrassing pause] I mean politics.
Stephen Fitzgerald: Well, you'll admit there are certain points of similarity.
Toni Pellerin: Look! A rainbow! Oh, Grandfather says there's a pot of gold at the end.
Ferdinand de Lesseps: One end in the Mediterranean and the other in the Red Sea. What a pot of gold for the world if they could be joined: the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. Look, Toni! That water in the old gulf. Just as it was centuries ago, when the Phoenicians sailed through. Can you imagine ships sailing right through here where we're standing?
Toni Pellerin: Ships?
Ferdinand de Lesseps: Yes. Not ancient galleys but modern ships, steamers, sailing a short trade route to the East. It could be done: no elevations, no rock formations, just a simple sand... ditch. (Heh heh heh. And I was told I was going to dig ditches.) There's fate in this, Toni. Something sent me here to Egypt when I didn't want to come, kept me here when I wanted to leave. I thought it was a dead end, has been up to now. But I can make this -- I can make this spot that we're standing on the crossroads of the Earth. Why, think of it, Toni, a canal stretching through to the Mediterranean, open to the ships of all nations! It could be done, and I can do it. I was looking for a way to serve France, and I think... I think I've found a way to serve the world.
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