The majestic magic encapsulated by Hollywood icon Tyrone Power is second to none. Beloved by the masses, acclaimed by the critics and revered by his peers, Power left an inspiring mark on Hollywood and led a career most would-be actors today only dream about.
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Tyrone Power was one of the leading male sex symbols in Hollywood from the 1930s through the 1950s. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on May 5, 1914. His parents, Frederick Tyrone Edmund Power and Helen Emma Reaume Power, were both Shakespearean actors and were known on stage as Tyrone Power and Patia Power. Both had the extraordinary opportunities to perform with many of their generation's most beloved and acclaimed actors.
As a child, Tyrone was very frail, forcing his family to move to a warmer climate to aid his failing health. They headed to the West Coast, where they settled in San Diego. There, Patia taught her son breathing exercises and had him study enunciation, pronunciation and articulation. Later, Tyrone would be awarded with the 1946 International Sound Research Institute award for diction.
Tyrone's health eventually improved and the family moved back to Cincinnati. Tyrone interest for the dramatic arts grew and, before too long, he began getting in involved with various dramatic programs. Unfortunately, he often found himself bored with other classroom requirements.
Like his father and many others before him, Tyrone was seduced by the applause he received as a stage performer. After graduating from high school, Tyrone joined his father in Quebec where the senior Power gave him a crash course in acting. From there, Tyrone Sr. and Young Tyrone (as he was known then) performed together for the first time in a stage production of "The Merchant of Venice." Tyrone Power's metamorphosis into stardom had begun.
Tyrone's major film career began in May of 1932, with a minor part in the film "Tom Brown of Culver," directed by William Wyler. He soon found the lack of movie opportunities to be quite frustrating and, in the summer of 1934, Tyrone left California for New York. While on the East Coast, Tyrone tried theatre and radio work where he befriended actor Don Ameche. Don would later serve as the best man in Tyrone's first wedding. By the spring of 1936, Tyrone was back in Hollywood working as a character actor for the newly formed studio Twentieth Century Fox. Tyrone's big break came when Darryl F. Zanuck, the studio head, took a chance and cast Power as the leading man in the million dollar production of "Lloyds of London." The picture was a success, largely due to Tyrone's stellar acting abilities and natural knack for being in front of the camera.
By 1938, Tyrone was tenth amongst all stars for revenue drawn from movies, and he had completed the movies "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "Suez" and "In Old Chicago." These three films evolved to become three of Twentieth Century Fox's top-four grossing films. In 1939, Tyrone was second in revenue drawn amongst all stars. Finally, to cap off the 1930s, Tyrone married the former Suzanne Charpentier (Annabella). Their marriage lasted seven years before they were divorced in 1946.
Power made his first Technicolor film, "Jesse James," in 1939 alongside Henry Fonda. That same year, the "Motion Picture Herald" chose Tyrone as the number two box star in the nation.
In 1940, Tyrone brought to life the role that has become synonymous with, the signature part of Zorro in "The Mark of Zorro." Co-starring Basil Rathbone, this role officially made Tyrone into a full-fledged action hero.
With the onset of World War II, Tyrone made himself available for the draft. In 1942, Tyrone enlisted for active duty with the Marine Corps. Prior to his active enlistment, Tyrone completed two more critically acclaimed films, "A Yank in the R.A.F" and "Blood and Sand." Between 1942 and 1945, Tyrone logged eleven hundred hours of flying time with a considerable amount of it under enemy fire. He was discharged a First Lieutenant in 1946.
After his divorce from Annabella and the end of his active military service, Tyrone resumed his acting career. His first successful come-back film was "The Razor's Edge, followed by "Captain from Castile." At the same time, Tyrone began an intimate, complex relationship with Hollywood icon Lana Turner.
Tyrone's second marriage was to Linda Christian in 1949. The couple married in Rome, Italy, in what was dubbed "The Wedding of the Century." The ceremony drew over 10,000 spectators. During their marital union, Linda and Tyrone had two children, Romina Francesca and Taryn. Unfortunately, Tyrone and Linda separated in 1954 before divorcing in 1956.
At the end of 1956, Tyrone and his friend Ted Richmond formed their own independent production company, Copa Productions. The new company's first risk was the film "Abandon Ship!," which brought Tyrone and the Copa Productions praise.
Although after two divorces Tyrone had sworn off marriage, he tied the knot once again in 1958. Deborah Ann Montgomery Minardos married Tyrone in Mississippi on May 7. The couple set up a temporary residence in Madrid, Spain where Tyrone was beginning filming on "Solomon and Sheba," a Copa Productions picture. Tyrone was set to play title role of King Solomon. Sadly, after shooting a very intense dueling scene with George Sanders, Tyrone suffered a heart attack and died en route to the hospital. Tyrone's only son, Tyrone William Power IV was born a mere two months after his father's untimely death.
Towards the end of his life, Tyrone appeared some of the greatest roles of his lifetime. "The Eddy Duchin Story," "The Sun Also Rises" and "Witness for the Prosecution" were all highly acclaimed movies that emphasized Tyrone's illustrious acting ability. The motion picture industry, and the world as a whole, was robbed of one of the most talented and dynamic actors of all time when they lost Tyrone Power.
"I've done an awful lot of stuff that's a monument of public patience." Screenland, August 1946
"Life is trouble enough without worrying about something you don't know anything about." Screenland, August 1946
"I think that success, particularly in this business of acting, is a combination of fortunate circumstances and work."
"When you have nothing to lose and everything to gain, a gamble on some untried venture is easier." Screenland, August 1946
"I believe that while we live we should do whatever we think is right, so long as we harm no one else, and that each of us should seek peace, happiness and God in his own way, and never deny to anyone else, life liberty or the pursuit of happiness, regardless of the color of the other man's skin or the kind of religious opinions he holds. If we condemn other men because of their race or religion, then all the doctrines we fought against on foreign soil will be fighting against us on American soil." Screenland, August 1946
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