Once again, when I removed an old family photo from its frame for scanning, I find a famous person peeking out from underneath.
Tyrone Power was born Tyrone Edmund Power, Jr. on May 5, 1914 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His father was Tyrone Power Sr.; an English-born American stage and screen actor. Power was descended from a long theatrical line going back to his great-grandfather, the actor and comedian Tyrone Power (1795-1841). Power was also related to the actor Laurence Olivier, author Evelyn Waugh, and to the theatrical director Sir (William) Tyrone Guthrie.
Power began his career in 1921, at the age of 7 when he appeared with his mother in the play, La Golondrina. He did not continue his professional career as a child however. Moving back to Cincinnati with his mother; his parents had divorced; he did not pursue acting until he moved to New York in 1931 to join his father. Unfortunately his father died shortly after his arrival.
Power went to Hollywood in 1936. Impressed by his looks and poise, director Henry King insisted that Power be tested for the lead role in Lloyd’s of London. Cast in a leading role in his first film, he became a star overnight and remained a star for the rest of his career.
Power’s services were requested for the role of Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind butDarryl F. Zanuck refused to loan him to other studios. He was their biggest star. He was named the second biggest box office draw in 1939, surpassed by only Mickey Rooney.
In 1940, the direction of Tyrone Power’s career took a dramatic turn when his movie The Mark of Zorro was released. The film was a hit. After that, 20th Century Fox often cast him in other swashbucklers. His career was interrupted for military service during World War II. He joined the Marine Corps in 1942.
In the 1950s, he began placing limits on the number of films he would make to have time for stage work. He received his biggest accolades as a stage actor in John Brown’s Body and Mister Roberts.
Tyrone Power’s last film role turned out to be one of his most highly regarded, cast against type as the accused murderer, Leonard Vole, in Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution.
Married three times and divorced twice, he also had extra-marital affairs with Judy Garland and Lana Turner. He married his third wife just six months before his death.
During his career, Power made 48 films including; Lloyd’s of London; Café Metropole; In Old Chicago; Alexander’s Ragtime Band; Suez; Brigham Young; The Mark of Zorro; Blood and Sand; The Razor’s Edge; Captain from Castile; The Eddy Duchin Story; The Sun Also Rises; and Witness for the Prosecution. He suffered a heart attack on the set while filming a sword fight during the making of Solomon and Sheba. He died en route to the hospital. Yul Brynner was brought in to replace him in the film.
Power died November 15, 1958. He was 44. His wife gave birth to their son two months after his death.
All of the family photographs are now out of their frames. This was the penultimate posting in this series of serendipitous finds. Stay tuned for a future posting which will not only be the last in this series but truly the ultimate. “The suspense is terrible. I hope it’ll last.”