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reprint from American Movie Classics magazine
January 1992

Page 3 of 4

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With co-star and future wife Annabella in SUEZ

Like Errol Flynn, Power possessed the rare male capacity to appear poised in outlandish and exotic costumes: the Louis XVI finery in Marie Antoinette (1938), bullfighter togs in Blood and Sand (1941), and mask and foppery in The Mark of Zorro (1940). Female admirers apparently preferred him wearing as little as the Hays Office permitted. Variety coyly noted that his wartime hit Son of Fury (1942) was "such a stick of dynamite at the box office" because the ads "featured Tyrone Power showing off his manly form in a loincloth." Even when attempting to break out of the form-fitting fashions and Fox trots, the actor still seemed clean and classy. Playing the title mobster in the underworld film Johnny Apollo (1940), he earns a college degree.

After Pearl Harbor, Power performed in a more serious, though no less adventurous, drama. He and pal Henry Fonda enlisted in tandem, Fonda into the Navy, Power the Marines. As a transport pilot, he served in the Pacific. Along with a select group of other star/heroes such as Clark Gable, James Stewart and Robert Montgomery, Power became a poster boy for Hollywood at war. His most widely circulated film at this time may well have been A Message from Lieutenant Tyrone Power (1944), a plea for War Bonds distributed by the War Activities Committee.


Power returned to Hollywood minus the callow elan. Beginning with his portrayal of Somerset Maugham's philosophical WWI veteran in The Razor's Edge (1946), his screen persona acquired more depth and range. Tellingly, the hunk was proudest of his performance as the carnival hoodlum in Edmund Goulding's Nightmare Alley (1948), a film noirish plunge into a circus world of alcoholic dread.

Throughout his later career, Power continued to garner good parts. Although criticized for a certain aloofness onscreen, he always retained the loyalty of Hollywood's no-nonsense professionals. Directors used him again and again: Edmund Goulding (The Razor's Edge, Nightmare Alley), Henry Hathaway (Johnny Apollo, The Black Rose and others), and, above all, his early sponsor, Henry King (Lloyd's of London, Alexander's Ragtime Band, The Black Swan and others). John Ford entrusted Power with the demanding role of West Point stalwart Martin Maher in The Long Gray Line (1955), a film in which he ages a good half-century.

In fact, a makeup man's cosmetics were the only old age he would ever know. His final exit was a motion picture ending laced with double ironies. On location in Spain for King Vidor's biblical epic Solomon and Sheba (1959), Power was stricken with a heart attack during a dueling scene with George Sanders, the actor who had played his first screen nemesis in Lloyd's of London. Like his father, who collapsed on a Hollywood soundstage in 1931, he died in harness, too early at age 44.

This is the end of this article, but there is one more page, with Ty-related information, from the same issue of AMC magazine. Click "next" or "previous" button to view other pages.

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