Actor, 44, Victim
of Bad Heart
His Father Died
Set in '31
by the Associated Press
Tyrone Power, forty-four, was stricken today by a heart attack at the height of a dueling scene on the set of "Solomon and Sheba." He died an hour later.
His death was a tragic duplicate of that of his actor father, Frederick Tyrone Power, who was stricken fatally on a Hollywood movie set in 1931.
A virtual stranger in recent years to Hollywood, where he made his fame and fortune, Mr. Power was working on the film with Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida. He showed up on the set dressed as King Solomon for a dueling scene with George Sanders, who was playing the role of Solomon's older brother. Mr. Sanders was to have been killed in the duel, but not before knocking Mr. Power to the ground.
During the filming, Mr. Power complained of a pain in his left arm and abdomen. The pain, he said, had been recurring for several days.
While stunned actors stood aside, Mr. Power was rushed to a hospital at ll:30 a.m. Director King Vidor halted shooting. Spanish extras left the scene solemnly. The entire staff was shaken when the news came that Mr. Power was dead. Death was attributed to angina pectoris. Ted Richmond, producer of "Solomon and Sheba," was at Mr. Power's bedside when death came. Mr. Richmond then left to tell Mr. Power's third wife, the former Mrs. Deborah Minardos, 26.
She is expecting a child in February.
In Hollywood Tradition
The underlying theme in the short, tempestuous life of Tyrone Power was firmly in the Hollywood tradition.
As a leading box-office attraction, Mr. Power became a wealthy man. He had dark good looks, he married beautiful women, he traveled all over the world. Men thought the actor a rugged hero, the sort of man they might like to be, and to women he was for years a romantic ideal. To top it all off, he was a Marine Corps pilot during World War II.
Mr. Power's name had about it, in short, all of the glitter that only Hollywood stardom can bestow. But this was not enough, and Mr. Power candidly admitted that he believed most of his Hollywood achievements had been poor stuff indeed.
A member of an acting family with a stage tradition more than 100 years old, Mr. Power wanted above all to be good at his profession. Just a few months ago, he remarked that of the more than forty films he had made since 1936, he could take pride in only four. These were "Nightmare Alley", "Blood and Sand", "Seven Waves Away", and "Witness for the Prosecution."
Turned to Stage
A few years ago, an interviewer asked the actor about his career, and Mr. Power replied with another question. "How does it feel to have all the trappings of success and never enjoy them?" he asked. Then he explained: "You can kid everyone for a time except the person you shave."
This search for a success in which he could take pride turned Mr. Power to the stage. There, on occasion, he achieved a measure of what he sought. Perhaps most notable in recent years was his appearance in the stage adaptation of Stephen Vincent Benet's poem, "John Brown's Body" in 1953.
Walter F. Kerr, writing in this newspaper of Mr. Power's readings on that occasion, said he "reveals an exciting capacity for ferreting out the precise meaning of a fleeting image and a crisp, graphic talent for communicating his vision to an audience. So far from being a motion picture mask, he is an actor of considerable variety."
Taught by Father
Tyrone the 3rd was coached as a youth by his father, and by the time he was seventeen was playing minor roles with a Shakespearean repertory company in Chicago. The next few years were comparatively thin ones for Mr. Power. But in 1933 and 1936, he appeared in two Broadway productions with Katharine Cornell -- "Romeo and Juliet" and "Saint Joan". His successes in these led to a contract with Twentieth Century-Fox
In recent years, Mr. Power's marital troubles had been much-publicized. He was first married -- in 1939 -- to the French actress Annabella, whose real name was Suzanne Carpentier, whom he had met during the filming of "Suez." They were divorced on Jan. 27, 1949, and, on the same day in Rome, Italy, Mr. Power married Linda Christian.
This second marriage was celebrated in newspaper headlines all over the world. Miss Christian, then a motion picture bit player -- and Mr. Power were married in the medieval Church of Santa Francesca Romana. Scores of policemen on foot, on motorcycles and on horseback tried to prevent an immense crowd from creating a traffic jam. They failed. The wedding was described as the most spectacular Rome had seen in more than a decade.
Seven years later, the actor and Miss Christian were divorced. They had two children.
Last May, Mr. Power married for a third time. His wife, Debbie Ann Minardos Power, the daughter of Mrs. Rice Hungerford 3rd of Tunica, Mississippi, was twenty-six at the time.