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Birth name William Horatio PowellNationality USABirth 28 july 1892
at Pittsburgh (USA
)Death 5 march 1984
(at 91 years) at Palm Springs (USA
William Horatio Powell (July 29, 1892 – March 5, 1984) was an American actor. He typically played highly self-confident characters, with a sophisticated sense of humor and wit.
A major star at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, he was paired with Myrna Loy in 14 films, including the popular Thin Man series based on the Nick and Nora Charles characters created by Dashiell Hammett. Powell 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).
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. Powell's son became a television writer and producer before a period of ill health led to his suicide in 1968.
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. Powell was devastated when he learned of her death in 1942.
Powell was engaged to actress Jean Harlow. After her sudden death in 1937, it is reported that a single white gardenia with an unsigned note was placed in her hands before she was interred, presumed to have been written by Powell. The note read, "Good night, my dearest darling". He also paid for her final resting place—a $25,000, 9×10-foot private room lined with multicolored imported marble located in the "Sanctuary of Benediction" of the Great Mausoleum, Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale.
In 1937, Powell was diagnosed with cancer. He underwent surgery and experimental radium treatment which put the disease in full remission within two years. Given his own health and sorrow over Harlow's death, Powell did not undertake any film roles for over a year during this period.
On January 6, 1940, Powell married actress Diana Lewis, whom he called "Mousie", three weeks after they met. They remained married for 44 years, residing primarily in Palm Springs, California, until Powell died at the age of 91.