William Powell

William Powell

Highest Rated: 100% Love Crazy (1941)

Lowest Rated: 60% The Thin Man Goes Home (1945)

Birthday: Jul 29, 1892

Birthplace: Not Available

Originally planning to become a lawyer, William Powell chose instead to pursue a career as an actor, dropping out of the University of Kansas to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where his classmates included Edward G. Robinson and Joseph Schildkraut. He made his Broadway debut in 1912, and within a few years had attained stardom in urbane, sophisticated roles. The sleek, moustachioed young actor entered films in 1922, playing the first of many villainous roles in John Barrymore's Sherlock Holmes. He finally broke out of the bad guy mode when talkies came in; his clipped, precise speech patterns and authoritative demeanor were ideally suited to such "gentleman detective" roles as Philo Vance in The Canary Murder Case, the Kennel Murder Case, and others in the Vance series. In 1933 he moved from Warner Bros. to MGM, where he co-starred with Myrna Loy in Manhattan Melodrama (1934). So well-received was the Powell-Loy screen teaming that the actors were paired together in several subsequent MGM productions, most memorably the delightful Thin Man series and the 1936 blockbuster The Great Ziegfeld, in which Powell played the title character and Loy was cast as Ziegfeld's second wife, Billie Burke. Away from the screen for nearly a year due to a serious illness, Powell returned in 1944, curtailing his film activities thereafter. As he eased into his late fifties he reinvented himself as a character actor, offering superbly etched performances as a lamebrained crooked politician in The Senator Was Indiscreet (1947) and the lovably autocratic Clarence Day Sr. in Life With Father (1947), which earned him his third Academy Award nomination (the others were for The Thin Man and My Man Godfrey). After playing Doc in the 1955 film version of Mister Roberts, he retired to his lavish, air-conditioned home in Palm Springs, insisting that he'd return to films if the right role came along but he turned down all offers. Married three times, Powell's second wife was actress Carole Lombard, with whom he remained good friends after the divorce, and co-starred with in My Man Godfrey (1936); his third marriage to MGM starlet Diana Lewis was a happy union that lasted from 1940 until Powell's death in 1984. It has been said, however, that the great love of William Powell's life was actress Jean Harlow, to whom he was engaged at the time of her premature death in 1936.

Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Alias Nick and Nora Actor 2005
No Score Yet Mgm Story: When The Lion Roars Actor 1992
92% Mister Roberts Lt. 'Doc' 1955
84% How to Marry a Millionaire J.D. Hanley 1953
No Score Yet The Girl Who Had Everything Steve Latimer 1953
No Score Yet It's a Big Country Professor 1951
No Score Yet Dancing in the Dark Emery Slade 1949
No Score Yet Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid Mr. Peabody 1948
80% Song of the Thin Man Nick Charles 1947
No Score Yet The Senator Was Indiscreet Sen. Melvin G. Ashton 1947
92% Life With Father Father 1947
No Score Yet The Hoodlum Saint Terence Ellerton O'Neill 1946
70% Ziegfeld Follies Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. 1946
60% The Thin Man Goes Home Nicholas Charles 1945
No Score Yet The Heavenly Body William B. Whitley 1944
No Score Yet Crossroads David Talbot, aka Jean Pelletier 1942
83% Shadow of the Thin Man Nick Charles 1941
100% Love Crazy Steven Ireland 1941
100% I Love You Again Larry Wilson aka George Carey 1940
81% Another Thin Man Nick Charles 1939
No Score Yet The Baroness and the Butler Johann Porok 1938
No Score Yet Double Wedding Charlie Lodge 1937
No Score Yet The Emperor's Candlesticks Baron Stephan Wolensky 1937
No Score Yet The Last Of Mrs.Cheyney Actor 1937
No Score Yet The Last of Mrs. Cheyney Charles 1937
100% After the Thin Man Nick Charles 1936
97% My Man Godfrey Godfrey 1936
No Score Yet The Ex-Mrs. Bradford Dr. Lawrence Bradford 1936
62% The Great Ziegfeld Florenz Ziegfeld 1936
86% Libeled Lady Bill Chandler 1936
No Score Yet Rendezvous Bill Gordon 1935
No Score Yet Star of Midnight Clay Dalzell 1935
No Score Yet Reckless Ned Riley 1935
No Score Yet Evelyn Prentice John Prentice 1934
No Score Yet The Key Capt. Tennant 1934
97% The Thin Man Nick Charles 1934
80% Manhattan Melodrama Jim Wade 1934
No Score Yet Fashions of 1934 Sherwood Nash 1934
83% The Kennel Murder Case Philo Vance 1933
No Score Yet Double Harness John Fletcher 1933
No Score Yet Man Killer Donald Free 1933
No Score Yet Lawyer Man Anton 'Tony' Adam 1933
No Score Yet One Way Passage Dan Hardesty 1932
No Score Yet Jewel Robbery The Robber 1932
No Score Yet High Pressure Gar Evans 1932
No Score Yet The Road to Singapore Hugh Daltrey 1931
No Score Yet Ladies' Man Jamie Darricott 1931
No Score Yet Man of the World Michael Trevor 1931
89% Dishonored Manager 1931
No Score Yet For the Defense William Foster 1930
No Score Yet Street of Chance John B. Marsden/"Natural" Davis 1930
No Score Yet Paramount on Parade Philo Vance 1930
No Score Yet Pointed Heels Robert Courtland 1929
No Score Yet The Canary Murder Case Philo Vance 1929
No Score Yet Feel My Pulse Her Nemesis 1928
No Score Yet Beau Sabreur Becque 1928
No Score Yet She's a Sheik Kada 1927
No Score Yet Señorita Ramon Oliveros 1927
No Score Yet Nevada Clan Dillon 1927
No Score Yet Paid To Love Actor 1927
67% Aloma of the South Seas Van Templeton 1926
No Score Yet Beau Geste Boldini 1926
No Score Yet Romola Tito Melerna 1925
No Score Yet Under the Red Robe Duke of Orleans 1923
No Score Yet Bright Shawl Gaspar De Vaca 1923
67% Sherlock Holmes Forman Wells 1922
No Score Yet Outcast DeValle 1922


No Score Yet Bonanza
Screenwriter 1961


Nick Charles says: The important thing is the rhythm. Always have rhythm in your shaking. Now a Manhattan you shake to fox-trot time, a Bronx to two-step time, a dry martini you always shake to waltz time.

Nora Charles says: [suffering from a hang-over] What hit me?

Nick Charles says: The last martini.

Nick Charles says: The murderer is right in this room. Sitting at this table. You may serve the fish.

Nick Charles says: Now don't make a move or that dog will tear you to shreds.

Nora Charles says: You know, that sounds like an interesting case. Why don't you take it?

Nick Charles says: I haven't the time. I'm much too busy seeing that you don't lose any of the money I married you for.

Nick Charles says: I mean, did I ever tell you that you're the most fascinating woman this side of the Rockies?

Nora Charles says: Wait till you see me on the other side.

John Fletcher says: "Its no fun lying to you Joan, you're so doggone honest yourself."

John Fletcher says: Its no fun lying to you Joan, you're so doggone honest yourself.

Nora Charles says: They say you were shot in the tabloids.

Nick Charles says: They never got near my tabloids.