Brown - Dark
Place of Death
Palm Springs, California
Cause of Death
Claim to Fame
Thin Man Series (Nick Charles)
Has Detailed Data (New)
Profile Bio Text
William Powell was on the New York stage in 1912 and it would be ten years before his film career would begin. In 1924 he would go to Paramount Pictures, where he would be employed for the next seven years. During these years he played in a number of interesting films, but stardom was elusive. He did attract attention with The Last Command (1928) as Leo, the arrogant film director. Stardom would come with his role as Philo Vance in The Canary Murder Case (1929), where he investigates the death of Louise Brooks, "the Canary". Unlike many silent actors, sound boosted Powell`s career. He had a fine, urbane voice and his stage training and comic timing greatly aided his introduction to sound pictures. However, he was not happy with the type of roles he was playing at Paramount, so in 1931 he switched to Warner Bros. He would again be disappointed with his roles and would make his last appearance as Philo Vance in The Kennel Murder Case (1933). In 1934 Powell went to MGM, where he would be teamed with Myrna Loy in Manhattan Melodrama (1934). While Philo made Powell a star, another detective, Nick Charles, made him famous. He would receive an Academy Award nomination for The Thin Man (1934) and star in the Best Picture winner for 1936, The Great Ziegfeld (1936). Powell could play any role with authority, whether in a comedy, thriller or drama. He would receive his second Academy Award Nomination for My Man Godfrey (1936). He was on top of the world until 1937. His first picture with Jean Harlow was Reckless (1935) and they clicked offscreen as well as onscreen, and shortly became engaged. While he was filming Double Wedding (1937) on one MGM sound stage, Harlow became ill on another and finally went to the hospital, where she died. Her death greatly upset both Powell and Myrna Loy and he would be off the movie for six weeks to deal with his sorrow. After that he would travel and did not make another MGM film for a year. He would do four sequels to "The Thin Man", with the last one being made in 1947. He would also receive his third Academy Award nomination for his work in Life with Father (1947). After that, his screen appearances became fewer and his last role was in 1955. He had come a long way from playing the villain in 1922.
American Academy of Dramatic Arts, NYC
Full Name at Birth
William Horatio Powell
Richard Barthelmess, Ronald colman, James Cagney, Paulette Goddard, Fredric March, Clark Gable, Harold Arlen
The Complete Films of William Powell  (Lawrence J. Quirk), Gentleman: The William Powell Story  (Charles Francisco), William Powell: The Life and Films  (Roger Bryant)
Speaking of the Weather , Dog Daze , Have You Got Any Castles? , Hollywood Steps Out 
Horatio Warren Powell
Nattie Manila Brady
William David Powell (son)
Lana Turner, James Stewart, Hedy Lamarr
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 popular 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).
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