Today is the 109th birthday of the actor Tyrone Power. Witness for the Prosecution and The Razor’s Edge are my favorite films of his. The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.
NAME: Tyrone Power
OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Theater Actor
BIRTH DATE: May 5, 1914
DEATH DATE: November 15, 1958
PLACE OF BIRTH: Cincinnati, Ohio
PLACE OF DEATH: Madrid, Spain
BEST KNOWN FOR: Tyrone Power was a stage and film actor known for his roles in such films as Witness for the Prosecution and The Mark of Zorro.
Actor Tyrone Power was born on May 5, 1914, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Power was a descendant of a long line of theatrical actors: his great grandfather was a 19th century comedian; his father, Tyrone Power Sr., was a London stage actor; while his mother, Helen Emma Raeume (stage name Patia Power), often acted opposite her husband in Shakespearean productions.
Power spent his childhood frequently traveling from Hollywood to New York, due to his parents’ various film and stage engagements. Tyrone Power inherited their love of theatre and spent his early teens being coached by his mother.
During the early 1930s, Power toured with a Shakespeare repertory company and secured several minor film roles, making his debut in Tom Brown of Culver (1932). He gained a foothold in the theatre when he debuted in the 1935 Broadway production of Romeo and Juliet. He received positive reviews, and shortly after, 20th Century Fox signed him to a seven-year contract. Power’s first effort with the studio was in the costume drama Lloyd’s of London (1936). His performance exceeded all expectations, and that same year he was featured in Ladies in Love and Girls’ Dormitory.
Power maintained his popularity over the next few years with roles ranging in scope from a conniving playboy in Cafe Metropole (1937), to an indignant bandleader in Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1938), to a notorious outlaw in Jesse James (1939). Power also received attention with commanding performances in The Mark of Zorro (1940) and The Black Swan (1942).
After an impressive start, Power’s career was put on hold when he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, where he served from 1942-’46. Upon his discharge, he was welcomed back by Hollywood with a starring role in the film adaptation of the philosophical novel The Razor’s Edge (1946), followed by the highly original melodrama Nightmare Alley (1947), and the costume epic Prince of Foxes (1949).
During the 1950s, Power continued to take on roles in period pieces such as The Black Rose (1950) and King of the Khyber Rifles (1953). In addition to his trademark adventure films, he was also distinguished by the onscreen chemistry he shared with some of Hollywood’s leading actresses. Among the most notable were his pairings with Susan Hayward in the adventure feature Untamed (1955) and with Marlene Dietrich in Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution (1957).
Throughout his career, Power moved between screen and stage projects. In the years before his death, he had steady successes on Broadway in Mr. Roberts (1950), The Devil’s Disciple (1950), John Brown’s Body (1952), The Dark is Light Enough (1955) and Back to Methuselah (1958).
Although Power considered himself first and foremost a stage actor, his films are the medium that propelled him to stardom. Nevertheless, throughout his life the matinee idol fought for recognition as a serious dramatic actor.
On November 11, 1958, Power died of a heart attack in Madrid, Spain, while shooting the film Solomon and Sheba. He was 44 years old.
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Witness for the Prosecution (Dec-1957) · Leonard Vole
The Sun Also Rises (23-Aug-1957) · Jake Barnes
The Rising of the Moon (10-Aug-1957) · Host
Seven Waves Away (17-Apr-1957)
The Eddy Duchin Story (13-Jun-1956) · Eddy Duchin
The Long Gray Line (9-Feb-1955) · Martin Maher
King of the Khyber Rifles (22-Dec-1953) · Capt. Alan King
The Mississippi Gambler (29-Jan-1953)
Pony Soldier (19-Dec-1952) · Constable Duncan MacDonald
Diplomatic Courier (13-Jun-1952)
The House in the Square (7-Dec-1951)
American Guerrilla in the Philippines (7-Nov-1950)
The Black Rose (1-Sep-1950)
Prince of Foxes (9-Nov-1949) · Andrea Orsini
That Wonderful Urge (20-Nov-1948) · Thomas Jefferson Tyler
The Luck of the Irish (15-Sep-1948) · Stephen Fitzgerald
Captain from Castile (25-Dec-1947) · Pedro De Vargas
Nightmare Alley (9-Oct-1947) · Stanton Carlisle
The Razor’s Edge (19-Nov-1946) · Larry Darrell
Crash Dive (22-Apr-1943) · Lt. Ward Stewart
The Black Swan (23-Dec-1942) · Jamie Waring
This Above All (12-May-1942)
Son of Fury (29-Jan-1942) · Benjamin Blake
A Yank in the R.A.F. (26-Sep-1941) · Tim Baker
Blood and Sand (22-May-1941) · Juan
The Mark of Zorro (1-Nov-1940) · Diego
Brigham Young: Frontiersman (20-Sep-1940)
Johnny Apollo (15-Mar-1940) · Bob Cain
Day-Time Wife (23-Nov-1939) · Ken Norton
The Rains Came (8-Sep-1939) · Maj. Rama Safti
Second Fiddle (30-Jun-1939) · Jimmy Sutton
Rose of Washington Square (5-May-1939) · Bart Clinton
Jesse James (13-Jan-1939) · Jesse James
Suez (15-Oct-1938) · Ferdinand de Lesseps
Marie Antoinette (8-Jul-1938) · Count Axel de Fersen
Alexander’s Ragtime Band (24-May-1938)
In Old Chicago (6-Jan-1938) · Dion O’Leary
Second Honeymoon (13-Nov-1937) · Raoul McLish
Thin Ice (1-Sep-1937)
Café Metropole (28-Apr-1937)
Love Is News (26-Feb-1937)
Lloyd’s of London (25-Nov-1936) · Jonathan Blake
Ladies in Love (9-Oct-1936)
One of the reasons he did “Nightmare Alley”, was to prove he wasn’t just another Hollywood pretty boy. He wanted to show he could stretch himself as an actor. That was a bold move, considering the controversy of the film at the time.