William Powell

Born Jul 29, 1892

William Horatio Powell was an American actor. A major star at MGM, he was paired with Myrna Loy in 14 films, including the popular Thin Man series based on the novels of Dashiell Hammett in which Powell and Loy played Nick and Nora Charles. He 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).… Read More

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1892 Birth An only child, Powell was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Nettie Manila (née Brady) and Horatio Warren Powell, on July 29, 1892. … Read More


1907 14 Years Old In 1907, he moved with his family to Kansas City, Missouri, where he graduated from Central High School in 1910. … Read More
1912 19 Years Old In 1912, Powell graduated from the AADA, and worked in some vaudeville and stock companies.


1915 22 Years Old In 1915, he married Eileen Wilson (1894–1942) who was born Julia Tierney, with whom he had his only child, William David Powell, before an amicable divorce in 1930.
1922 29 Years Old 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. … Read More


1931 38 Years Old On June 26, 1931, Powell married actress Carole Lombard. The marriage lasted just over two years. They were divorced in 1933, though they, too, remained on good terms, even starring together in the screwball comedy My Man Godfrey three years later. … Read More


1934 41 Years Old 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. … Read More
1935 42 Years Old In 1935, he starred with Jean Harlow in Reckless. … Read More
1937 44 Years Old In 1937, Powell was diagnosed with cancer. … Read More
1940 47 Years Old Three weeks after they met, on January 6, 1940, Powell married actress Diana Lewis, whom he called "Mousie". … Read More


1957 64 Years Old In 1957, Powell was awarded The George Eastman Award, given by George Eastman House for distinguished contribution to the art of film.
1968 75 Years Old Powell's son became a television writer and producer before a period of ill health led to his suicide in 1968.
1978 85 Years Old In 1978, influential proto-punk band The Dictators recorded a well-reviewed rock ballad, "Sleepin' with the TV on" in homage to William Powell and The Thin Man films. … Read More
1984 92 Years Old Powell died in Palm Springs, California, on March 5, 1984, at the age of 91, some 30 years after his retirement. … Read More
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