Image of William Powell

William Powell

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.


Read bio at tmdb | Read bio at Wikipedia
Born:
Jul 28, 1892 In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
101
First Appeared:
In the movie Sherlock Holmes 1922-03-07
Latest Project:
Movie Cinecittà Babylon 2017-06-14
Known For
Poster of New York
Poster of White Mice
Poster of My Lady's Lips
Poster of Outcast

William Powell Movies Filmography

Movie
Cinecittà Babylon
Himself - Actor (archive footage) 2017-06-14
Movie
William Powell: A True Gentleman
2005-08-02
Movie
Alias Nick and Nora
Nick 2005-01-05
Movie
Harlow: The Blonde Bombshell
Himself 1993-02-06
Movie
Hollywood Remembers: Myrna Loy - So Nice to Come Home to
(archive footage) 1991-01-01
Movie
James Stewart's Wonderful Life
(archive footage) 1988-11-22
Movie
The Spencer Tracy Legacy: A Tribute by Katharine Hepburn
1986-03-09
Movie
Hollywood Out-takes and Rare Footage
Himself (archive footage) 1983-02-25
Movie
That's Entertainment, Part II
(archive footage) 1976-05-17
Movie
It's Showtime
1976-03-31
Movie
Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
(archive footage) 1975-08-06
Movie
The Big Parade of Comedy
Nick Charles (archive footage) 1964-09-02
Movie
Mister Roberts
Doc 1955-07-10
Movie
How to Marry a Millionaire
J.D. Hanley 1953-10-29
Movie
The Girl Who Had Everything
Steve Latimer 1953-03-27
Movie
The Treasure of Lost Canyon
Homer 'Doc' Brown 1952-03-01
Movie
It's a Big Country
Professor 1951-11-20
Movie
Dancing in the Dark
Emery Slade 1949-12-02
Movie
Take One False Step
Andrew Gentling 1949-06-22
Movie
Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid
Mr. Peabody 1948-08-11
Movie
The Senator Was Indiscreet
Senator Melvin G. Ashton 1947-12-31
Movie
Life with Father
Clarence Day Sr. 1947-09-13
Movie
Song of the Thin Man
Nick Charles 1947-08-28
Movie
The Hoodlum Saint
Terence Ellerton 'Terry' O'Neill 1946-04-04
Movie
Ziegfeld Follies
Flo Ziegfeld 1945-08-26
Movie
The Great Morgan
William Powell (voice) (uncredited) 1945-01-01
Movie
The Thin Man Goes Home
Nick Charles 1944-12-24
Movie
The Heavenly Body
William S. Whitley 1944-03-23
Movie
Twenty Years After
1944-01-01
Movie
The Youngest Profession
Himself - Guest Star 1943-02-26
Movie
Crossroads
David Talbot aka Jean Pelletier 1942-07-23
Movie
Shadow of the Thin Man
Nick Charles 1941-11-21
Movie
Love Crazy
Steve Ireland 1941-05-23
Movie
I Love You Again
Larry Wilson aka George Carey 1940-08-09
Movie
Hollywood: Style Center of the World
Himself 1940-05-29
Movie
The Miracle of Sound
1940-01-01
Movie
From the Ends of the Earth
1939-05-28
Movie
Another Thin Man
Nick Charles 1939-11-17
Movie
The Baroness and the Butler
Johann Porok 1938-02-18
Movie
Double Wedding
Charles Lodge 1937-10-15
Movie
The Romance of Celluloid
1937-08-26
Movie
The Emperor's Candlesticks
Baron Stephan Wolensky 1937-07-02
Movie
The Last of Mrs. Cheyney
Charles 1937-02-19
Movie
After the Thin Man
Nicholas 'Nick' Charles 1936-12-25
Movie
Libeled Lady
William 'Bill' Stephens Chandler 1936-10-09
Movie
My Man Godfrey
Godfrey 1936-09-02
Movie
The Ex-Mrs. Bradford
Dr. Lawrence Bradford 1936-05-13
Movie
The Great Ziegfeld
Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. 1936-04-08
Movie
Reckless
Ned Riley 1935-04-19
Movie
Star of Midnight
Clay 'Dal' Dalzell 1935-04-19
Movie
Rendezvous
Lt. William 'Bill' Gordon / Anson Meridan 1935-10-25
Movie
Escapade
Fritz 1935-07-05
Movie
Evelyn Prentice
John Prentice 1934-11-09
Movie
The Key
Capt. Bill Tennant 1934-06-09
Movie
The Thin Man
Nick Charles 1934-05-25
Movie
Manhattan Melodrama
Jim Wade 1934-05-04
Movie
Fashions of 1934
Sherwood Nash 1934-02-14
Movie
The Kennel Murder Case
Philo Vance 1933-10-28
Movie
Double Harness
John Fletcher 1933-07-21
Movie
Private Detective 62
Donald Free 1933-06-10
Movie
Jewel Robbery
The Robber 1932-07-08
Movie
High Pressure
Gar Evans 1932-01-30
Movie
One Way Passage
Dan Hardesty 1932-10-04
Movie
Lawyer Man
Anton Adam 1932-12-24
Movie
The Road to Singapore
Hugh Dawltry 1931-10-10
Movie
Ladies' Man
Jamie Darricott 1931-05-09
Movie
Man of the World
Michael Trevor 1931-03-28
Movie
For the Defense
William Foster 1930-07-19
Movie
Shadow of the Law
Jim Montgomery aka John Nelson 1930-06-06
Movie
The Benson Murder Case
Philo Vance 1930-04-13
Movie
Street of Chance
John D. Marsden / 'Natural' Davis 1930-02-08
Movie
Behind the Make-Up
Gardoni 1930-01-18
Movie
The Greene Murder Case
Philo Vance 1929-08-11
Movie
The Four Feathers
Capt. William Trench 1929-06-01
Movie
The Canary Murder Case
Philo Vance 1929-02-16
Movie
Beau Sabreur
1928-01-22
Movie
The Last Command
Lev Andreyev 1928-01-21
Movie
The Vanishing Pioneer
1928-06-23
Movie
Feel My Pulse
Her Nemesis 1928-02-26
Movie
The Dragnet
1928-05-01
Movie
She's a Sheik
Kada 1927-11-12
Movie
Nevada
Clan Dillon 1927-08-01
Movie
Time to Love
1927-06-18
Movie
Senorita
Manuel Oliveros 1927-04-01
Movie
Love's Greatest Mistake
1927-02-20
Movie
New York
1927-01-30
Movie
White Mice
1926-01-31
Movie
Sea Horses
1926-02-22
Movie
Desert Gold
1926-03-22
Movie
The Runaway
Jack Harrison 1926-04-04
Movie
Aloma of the South Seas
Van Templeton 1926-05-15
Movie
Tin Gods
Tony Santelli 1926-09-19
Movie
The Beautiful City
Nick Di Silva 1925-10-25
Movie
My Lady's Lips
1925-07-01
Movie
Too Many Kisses
Julio 1925-01-11
Movie
Romola
Tito Melema 1924-12-06
Movie
Dangerous Money
1924-10-13
Movie
Under the Red Robe
Duke of Orleans 1923-11-12
Movie
Outcast
1922-12-07
Movie
When Knighthood Was in Flower
Francis I 1922-09-15
Movie
Sherlock Holmes
Forman Wells 1922-03-07