William Powell was born William Horatio Powell 124 years ago today in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Of all the actors of the Cladrite Era, it is Powell we would choose to model ourselves after. He came off as suave, sophisticated, elegant, witty, warm and decent. Here are 10 WP Did-You-Knows:
- Though their marriage lasted just over two years, ending in divorce in 1933, Powell and Carole Lombard remained close friends until her death in 1942.
- Powell and legendary baseball manager Casey Stengel attended Central High School in Kansas City, Missouri, together.
- Harlean Carpenter, who would be known years later as Jean Harlow, lived just a few blocks away from Powell in Kansas City, but the two would not meet until they were both working actors in Hollywood.
- Powell had been romantically involved with Harlow for two years at the time of her death and he paid for her funeral, spending $30,000.
- William Powell made 13 pictures with Myrna Loy—14, if you count her cameo in The Senator Was Indiscreet (1947).
- Politically, Powell was a Republican.
- Powell’s favorite singer was Jo Stafford.
- Powell had cancer of the rectum in 1938. An unconventional treatment that involved inserting platinum needles containing radium pellets into his body caused the cancer to go into remission and he lived for another 46 years.
- Powell’s career was not threatened by the advent of talkies; on the contrary, they caused his star to rise.
- Though Powell was nominated three times for the Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar, he never won.
Happy birthday, William Powell, wherever you may be!