Saturday, December 31, 2011

Profile: Tyrone Power (1914-1958)

Tyrone Edmund Power, Jr. (May 5, 1914 – November 15, 1958), usually credited as Tyrone Power and known sometimes as Ty Power, was an American film and stage actor who appeared in dozens of films from the 1930s to the 1950s, often in swashbuckler roles or romantic leads such as in The Mark of Zorro, Blood and Sand, The Black Swan, Prince of Foxes, The Black Rose, and Captain from Castile.

Though renowned for his dark, classically handsome looks that made him a matinee idol from his first film appearance, Power played a wide range of roles, from film leading man to light comedy. In the 1950s, he began placing limits on the number of films he would make in order to have time for the stage. He received his biggest accolades as a stage actor in John Brown's Body and Mister Roberts. Power died from a heart attack at the age of 44.

Power went to Hollywood in 1936. The director Henry King was impressed with his looks and poise, and he insisted that Power be tested for the lead role in Lloyd's of London, a role thought already to belong to Don Ameche. Despite Darryl F. Zanuck's reservations, he decided to go ahead and give Power the role, once King and Fox editor, Barbara McLean, convinced him that Power had a greater screen presence than Ameche. Power was fourth billed in the movie, but he had by far the most screen time of any actor. He walked into the premiere of the movie an unknown, and he walked out a star, which he stayed for the remainder of his career.

Power racked up hit after hit from 1936 until 1943, when his career was interrupted for military service. In these years, he starred in romantic comedies such as Thin Ice and Day-Time Wife; in dramas such as Suez, Blood and Sand, Son of Fury: The Story of Benjamin Blake,The Rains Came, and In Old Chicago; in the musicals, Alexander's Ragtime Band, Second Fiddle, and Rose of Washington Square; in the westerns, Jesse James (1939) and Brigham Young; in the war films, Yank in the R.A.F. and This Above All; and, of course, the swashbucklers, The Mark of Zorro and The Black Swan. Jesse James was a very big hit at the box office, but it did receive some criticism for fictionalizing and glamorizing the famous outlaw. The movie was shot in and around the Pineville, Missouri area and was Power's first location shoot and his first Technicolor movie. Before his career was over, he would have filmed a total of 16 movies in color, including the movie he was filming when he died. He was loaned out once, for MGM for 1938's Marie Antoinette. Darryl F. Zanuck was angry that MGM used Fox's biggest star in what was, despite billing, a supporting role, and he vowed to never again loan him out. Though Power's services were requested for the role of Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind, Joe Bonaparte in Golden Boy, Paris in King's Row, by Harry Cohn for several films throughout the years, and by Norma Shearer herself for her planned production of The Last Tycoon to play Irving Thalberg, Zanuck stuck by his original decision.

He was named the second biggest box office draw in 1939, surpassed by only Mickey Rooney


VIDEO: The Mark of Zorro 1940 (Full Original Movie) - Starring Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell and Basil Rathbone -

1 comment:

  1. Handsome leading young man! Would you believe that Sylvester Stallone was to be named Tyrone Stallone after this famous actor?!? But at the last minute his father changed the birth certificate to Sylvester, after his own father's name. Sly's mom was reeling!