Part 2 of a 2 part story. To read Part 1, published by Modern Screen in Dec 1943, click here
Tyrone Power is signed up for the biggest fight of his life today as a Lieutenant of United States Marines in the battle for freedom. Already, starting as a private, he has won his bars with distinction in less than a year. Hollywood is not surprised. Nor is anyone who knows the story of the slim eager, intense son of an illustrious father who became one of the greatest stars Hollywood has ever known.
Battling through desperately sick days as a baby in California, Tyrone, Jr. grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, where his mother, Patia, taught in the Schuster--Martin Dramatic School. But his frail boyhood was no measure of his spirit, his fierce determination to lead in whatever he undertook and to run his own affairs. He made his mark in school, had his normal helping of mischief and adolescent romances. But smoldering within him always was the call of the Power heritage, a name great in the theater since the 1700's.
At high school graduation, Ty announced he intended to act. "All right," said his mother, "but you've got to be the best." Tyrone adopted that phrase as his secret advice. Skipping college, he joined his father, who promised to teach him all he knew of acting.
Tyrone, Jr., 17, played Shakespearean roles with his father in New York and Chicago, then came with him to Hollywood where Tyrone, Sr., had a part in The Miracle Man. Young Ty met movie celebrities, was welcomed everywhere with his famous father. The outlook couldn't have been rosier.
Then one night, between Christmas and New Year's he awoke in the Hollywood Athletic Club to hear his father gasping for breath. Tyrone Power, Sr., died in his son's arms.
Stunned and desolate, his rosy future now black, Tyrone Power III realized he was no longer a kid, the son of a famous father. He was Tyrone Power, on his own. And he was just 18. It was up to him, alone, to make ---- or break his future.
His first days alone in Hollywood were to young Tyrone Power an unbelievable, empty dream. A wise man once said that no young man actually believes in death. Ty at 18 had never met it before. Once when his dog, "Nig" had got old and rickety, they took him away. But all his family, even Grandmother Reaume, were hale and hearty. He remembered nothing about his own babyhood struggles to live. What he had been through could not have actually happened, he felt. When his father's rites were over, he tramped the streets of Hollywood trying to figure things out.
There wasn't any answer.
But he knew one thing: The best memorial he could offer a father like his was to go on with the show.
There were messages from Cincinnati. They wanted him to come back home. Later, when he had got over this shock, maybe then ----
Ty walked into the Hollywood Plaza Hotel lobby and sat down at the desk. "Dear Mother," he wrote, "I love all of you more than ever. But I've decided to stay here and carry out my plans. I think that's what Father would have wanted. Know you'll understand." Mrs. Power understood. She and Ann came out soon to Hollywood to tell him so.
There were other letters, from New York and London and cities all over the world. And a great stack of wires and telephone messages from Hollywood.
past studio gates . . .
These heartened Tyrone. They made him feel his Dad was still with him, still introducing him to the people he must know in his new profession. He pulled himself together and shook off the despair of loneliness. He moved out of the Athletic Club into a one--room Hollywood apartment. He got his clothes pressed and his hair cut, and then one day he hopped a bus to a studio.
He asked for the bid studio man who was his father's friend and who had written such a warm letter. Secretaries smiled and opened doors promptly at Tyrone Power's name. Ty was ushered into the big office like a prince. The producer greeted him warmly, had him sit down.
"So you're Tyrone Power, Jr.!" he smiled. "Well, I knew your father when he was the greatest Brutus that ever played 'Julius Caesar'! Yes sir ---- I'll never forget one night in London ----"
He reminisced for an hour and a half. He traced Tyrone Power's career over three continents. He was charming and finally he said, "Well, you'll have to come in and see me again some time ---- any time."
Before he knew it, Ty was outside the studio. He still hadn't said what he had come to say: What about a job?
That was the way it went. That was typical. Studio doors opened like magic to Tyrone Power's name. He spent hours with people telling him about his father.
At last it dawned on Ty that he was really a curiosity. He was Tyrone Power's son. He wasn't a personage himself.
He stopped seeing his father's friends. He just went around cold and hunted a break. Then he heard what was really the matter with him. "Too young." "No experience." "Nothing for your type."
And so the months passed. Tyrone had a little money to live on. There was a small inheritance, pitifully small, from his father. He couldn't get it for a while, but his father's attorney volunteered to advance him $10.00 a week against it. That's what he had to live on -- and that was all.
Tyrone moved all around. In that first year he lived in 15 different places, rooms, apartments, dinky hotels, guest houses, shacks -- about everything. It wasn't always by choice. One day his landlady came in apologetic but determined. She said she'd have to have her rent, or else.
"All right," said Ty, "I'm broke. I guess it's 'else.' I'll move." And he started lugging out his trunk.
"No rent," she said, "no trunk."
Ty shrugged. He gathered up his loose belongings and moved out. Four years later he called by to redeem that trunk. The landlady remembered him and, by then, she knew who he was. She was very polite. "Your trunk hasn't been touched," she assured him earnestly. "Everything is just as you left it." Ty thanked her and winked to the friend who had come with him. When they got the trunk outside, Ty opened it. Inside were a stack of old telephone books.
In the summer following his father's death, Patia Power drove out to Hollywood with her dramatic class from Schuster-Martin. She found Ty living over a garage on Orchid Street, right up from Hollywood Boulevard. She was shocked at the state of his wardrobe and general underfed condition. But she was happy to see the same eager sparkle in his black eyes. Enthusiastically he told her he was "working." The job turned out to be a speculative rehearsal for a local Hollywood show, Lo and Behold, that later went on to New York to make a hit as New Faces. Ty didn't go with the show.
The home town kids who journeyed out with his mother that summer--seven of them in an old Pierce Arrow limousine--the "Traveling School of the Theater" Patia called it--did Ty a lot of good. He had made friends in Hollywood, but they were mainly the casual hard--bitten permanent--extra type of kids whose only real ambitions were to hang around Hollywood and have fun.
broken hopes . . .
Patia Power took a house in Hollywood that summer for her crew, and while they were in town Ty ate regularly. When it came time to leave, she suggested that Ty drive back to Cincinnati for a visit. She thought it would do him good, and she knew he could stand some more home cooking. But about that time what seemed the break he'd been waiting for came along. At Universal a picture was getting ready that would use lots of juveniles. Tom Brown of Culver, starring Tom Brown. Ty knew Tom and had been tipped off. And Tom put in a plug. While his mother was in town, the studio casting office called, actually called him. He got the part; $500 salary. They mentioned a contract. This was it! Ty was always an optimist. The Traveling School of the Theater traveled on home to Cincinnati. Everyone was happy, especially Tyrone, waving them off. He'd show them now! Ty almost wore out the script of Tom Brown of Culver. He had a respectable little part at first. But in the end it was cut down to nothing much. When the picture came out, Tyrone Power showed up in a brief bit, and nobody noticed him. He asked Universal about the contract. The answer was: "What contract?"
For the first time since he had tried to crack Hollywood, Ty was discouraged. Up until then he had grinned at all the kicks in the teeth and laughed off the tough times. He was young; he could take it. He worked for nothing and lived like a tramp, but cheerfully -- because he thought some fine day the break would arrive.
Ty quit going out with his friends. He did a few bits when studios called him. But he stopped haunting the casting directors. He felt betrayed.
Of all the friends of his father's in Hollywood, one in particular had measured up. Arthur Caesar, top Broadway playwright and Hollywood scenarist, took more than a curious interest in Tyrone Power's son. Caesar realized the spot young Tyrone was in. He knew what he needed was not pats on the back, but aid and advice. He placed himself, as much as anyone could, in the role of father confessor to the youthful Ty.
Arthur Caesar's home was always open to Ty. Whenever he needed a square meal or good advice, he went to Arthur's.
To keep his independence, Ty contributed his part. He refused to take a job with anyone, but since Arthur couldn't drive a car, Ty became his chauffeur. For a while he lived over Caesar's garage, driving the writer around the studios and eating with the family. It was natural that now, discouraged, mixed up, he should go to Arthur for advice. Caesar gave it.
"You can hang around here and scratch for a break, " he said," and you may get it. Lots of kids have. But what if you do? Will you be able to handle it? Listen: There's only one solid way to make the grade in Hollywood -- that's to rate it. That means acting experience. You haven't got it. Go get it. If you're asking me -- I'd take the first train to New York."
Ty didn't tell him that he'd already been down to price tickets East. That's the kind of kid he was -- still.
Tyrone had been in Hollywood a little over a year the day he climbed into a day coach at the dingy old Los Angeles station. Ann, visiting in San Diego, came up to see him off. It wasn't an auspicious departure. Ty had just enough in his pants to eat on. He didn't have quite enough to get to New York, so he'd bought a ticket to Chicago. Chicago was where he had first trod a professional stage with his father. Ty knew some people there. He thought he might get a job and stake enough to start him off in New York.
star of the side show . . .
When the train pulled out, Ann cried. Her brother looked so frail and lonely waving out the smeary window of the day coach. She knew how he hated to quit anything, to admit defeat; she knew his pride. But if Ty felt bad about leaving Hollywood, defeated, he never let it show. He kept a brave smile beaming until the coach vanished down the track.
In Chicago he found something going on that changed his plans. The World's Fair Century of Progress Exposition was going full blast. On the Midway there were plenty of jobs for entertainers. When Ty mentioned he was from Hollywood, he didn't have any trouble. He signed up for skits all over the Midway. For a while he had an ironic job -- at the Hollywood Pavilion -- a place that purported to show exactly how pics were made in Hollywood. Ty acted a movie star in the make believe set. He got $30 a week. Sometimes he got his check, sometimes not.
He found a place to live in a barn on North Dearborn Street, a bunk-together deal with other youngsters working the fair. He needed to save some money. Chicago was a great radio center. So he haunted the stations in off hours and kept in touch with theatrical circuits, too. It paid off. Ty got some jobs. He
appeared on a couple of programs with a fellow named Don Ameche, who was to get his Hollywood break the same time as Ty.
shadow of things to come . . .
He had better luck in the theater. Eugenie Leontovich, Gregory Ratoff's wife, starred that summer in Romance in Chicago. Ty grabbed a small supporting part in Romance -- his first real crack at any sort of steady play. It lasted eight weeks. He saved his stake.
Anyone seeing the peaked youth pile off the crowded bus in New York, his suit looking like an old pair of pajamas and three days of black beard on his pale cheeks, would never have guessed that in less than two years the same young man would be mobbed in the same indifferent city, as the most sensational young star out of Hollywood!
Broadway was a lot like Hollywood as far as jobs went. Everyone knew the name, Tyrone Power. None was interested in giving that name a job. Like a million kids before him and a million more to come, Ty haunted the agencies and producers' offices, smiling at the icy-eyed secretaries -- and getting nowhere. His bankroll shriveled. Plenty of times it was a toss-up whether to spend the last nickel at the automat or on a bus.
Later, on his first trip to Manhattan as a Hollywood celebrity, Ty stayed at the Waldorf-Astoria. Naturally, he was besieged by reporters, photographers and famous people. Invitations to dinner and swank soirees swamped him. Social leaders and cafe society queens like Elsa Maxwell bid for his handsome presence to make their parties buzz. One night, after a steady round of this, the biggest affair of all came up. Ty was in his dinner jacket, all set to go, sitting in his room with a pal from Hollywood.
The pal said, "Ty, I'll bet everyone in New York knows who you are by now -- think of that!"
"Nuts," replied Ty. "I can take you to a place where nobody will give me a tumble." They made a bet of a buck. Then Ty left the hotel, giving his society hostess the slip.
He took a cab down to an address way below Forty-second Street, ducked down a side street and led the way to a basement restaurant. The air was heavy with smoke, garlic and stale wine. A fat Italian waiter waddled up.
"Why you stay away?" the waiter grunted. "You no lika da food?" Ty said he'd been busy, but he liked the food and he wanted some right now, including wine.
The waiter looked him up and down appraisingly, then, suspicion in his voice, he asked, "You a-workin' now?" You sure?
Ty said he was sure. So the waiter took a chance, served them, and Ty won his dollar. Nobody in the place gave him a second glance.
Katharine Cornell -- the Incomparable Kit -- really discovered Tyrone Power. Darryl Zanuck made his name a household word and his face romantic to millions. But it was Cornell who first had any real faith in the son of the famous father. The idea wasn't entirely original with her. When Tyrone and his father first played Shakespeare together in Chicago, Helen Mencken, a good friend of Cornell's mentioned in a letter, "Tyrone Power is here with a tall, handsome son, Tyrone, Jr. The boy is green but watch out for him. He has talent, and he's definite Broadway material." Cornell remembered that. When her husband-producer, Guthrie McClintic, mentioned that Tyrone Power's son had been in the office and said he was in New York to crash Broadway, Miss Cornell had an idea.
spook stuff . . .
So had Tyrone. His idea was that if he was ever going to be a Broadway star himself, he'd better be seeing some of the top shows. At that point it didn't look like he was due to be the main attraction very soon. But that posed a problem. How can you see Broadway shows at $4.40 or worse, when you are needing two- bits regularly for a dinner at the automat and no visible source of income? There was one show Tyrone particularly wanted to see -- Katharine Cornell in Flowers of the Forest which was just opening. He remembered that her manager, Stanley Ghilkey, had known his dad. He thought he would just sort of drop around and chew the fat, and he might get across a hint that he could use a couple on the aisle.
He dropped in Ghilkey's office. "Mr. Tyrone Power? Oh, yes," brightened the secretary. "Mr. Ghilkey's expecting you." Ty raised a black eyebrow in surprise, but he walked right in. The manager said, "You got our call, then, that's fine. Here are the tickets." Ty's head buzzed. What went on?
"Sixth row, center," said the manager. "Drop in tomorrow. Mr. McClintic is expecting you." That was even goofier! But Ty wasn't spoiling this by asking questions. He grabbed the seats, got on the telephone and got a date. That night he went to the play in style. Next morning Guthrie McClintic hired him as an understudy to Burgess Meredith's lead opposite Katharine Cornell in Flowers in the Forest.
straw hat circuit . . .
When summer came, Ty joined the straw hat circuit at Katharine Cornell's advice, as Flowers of the Forest closed. He went up to West Falmouth, Mass., with a contract to play Romeo and Juliet with Cornell in the fall. He worked like a Trojan all summer to be ready. He played cooks and cops, heavies and heroes. He shifted scenery and painted sets.
Romeo and Juliet tried out in Baltimore. Patia Power came up from Cincinnati to see it. Ty played Romeo's friend, Benvolio. The part wasn't sensational, but one critic said this, "Small though his part is, Tyrone Power gives it a feeling you don't forget." After the performance Cornell told Ty, "You did very well." That was high praise from her. Ty grinned, "I was scared stiff." Patia Power was more critical. She pointed out to him where he was okay and here he was weak. She said, "You'll have to work hard."
From then on he developed a mania for work, and so he lived modestly in an apartment with a couple of friends, spending all his waking hours studying the stage. Katharine Cornell rewarded him with the part of De Ponlengney in her production of St. Joan. Ty received a telephone call backstage one day.
The other actors heard him laughing into the mouthpiece.
"Somebody," he roared, "wants to know if I've ever considered acting for the movies!"
That was a joke to Ty -- after all the time he'd spent trying to get a nod in Hollywood! The talent scout was persistent. But Tyrone wasn't having any. He told him flatly that he was going to stay on the stage until he knew acting backwards and forwards. The critics liked Ty in "St. Joan." He was better and he knew it. The Hollywood offers came again. Ty kept saying "No," but he began to wonder if he meant it. He took his problem to Katharine Cornell. Although she had always spurned movies, Cornell advised him to make a screen test anyway. He did.
The test was terrible.
In fact, Ty's test was so gosh-awful, that by all the rules of show business he should never have rated a train ticket West. And he almost didn't. One of the stories they tell around Fox today is about the day Darryl Zanuck, Twentieth's head man, and his production staff watched Tyrone Power's test. Ty, badly photographed, was thin and white, all eyes, eyebrows and forehead. He was badly directed, too. Everyone squirmed with embarrassment. In the middle Zanuck picked up the booth ‘phone. "Stop it." he said.
A producer grinned. "I was wondering when you'd end the agony," he said. What is it -- N.G.?"
Zanuck puffed his cigar. "That's right," he said, "N.G. That is, the test. Wire New York," he told his secretary, "to make a decent test of that kid."
So Ty made another, and while it was no prize-winner, it showed some of the electric personality that was later to register on the screen. Tyrone Power was Mr. Lucky this trip. For several reasons.
One was that Zanuck was hard up for players. He had taken over the old Fox lot not long before. He inherited two stars -- and only two -- Will Rogers and Shirley Temple. Will had just been killed tragically in an airplane crash in Alaska. Shirley was growing up and slipping from her dimpled box-office charm.
Ty hopped a train for Hollywood, expenses paid with a Pullman berth and everything this time. He was still 20 years old. He didn't tell his decision to anyone -- his mother or Ann or any of his pals, except Katharine Cornell, until he had his ticket West.
He came to Hollywood and rented an apartment at the swanky Sunset Towers. It took about all his small check but Ty told himself, "If I make the grade this time, I'm going to jump, not creep!"
grand entrance . . .
He started his first picture of the new contract on May 5th, his birthday.
It was Girls Dormitory, designed to introduce the French charmer, Simone Simon, to America.
Tyrone Power, Jr. (they tagged that "Junior" back on his name at the studio for prestige), played about two minutes on the screen in Girls Dormitory." He played the lonely school girl's cousin who pretended to be her suitor. He sat on a park bench and pretended to make love to Simone. His part was incidental, and you could hardly find his name on the cast and credits.
But there was an odd little omen. As Tyrone made his entrance in the picture, the scene showed him bursting through a door at the girls' school, smiling full-face right into the camera. His first lines were: "Well, here I am!"
It was as if the words were meant for Hollywood. Here Tyrone Power was. No one at the studio had any idea what would come of that tiny scene. Fox big shots barely noticed it -- so intent were they on the reception of Simone Simon. Simone didn't click as expected. But for some strange reason a ton of letters swept into the studio. "Who was the boy who played the cousin?" "Where did he come from?" "We want to see him again." Darryl Zanuck had a sensitive ear. He thought he sensed something stirring. He called Ty into his office, handed him a script. "Take this home and read it," he said. "Never mind a test. The part's yours."
Ty will probably never forget the first days on the set of Sing, Baby, Sing. He played a fast-talking newspaper reporter, and he thought he was doing all right. But he noticed the director had him do scenes over again and again. He noticed the rest of the actors acted just a little funny toward him. He had the feeling something was going on, and he didn't exactly get it. What Tyrone didn't know was that the director didn't want him in the part. He thought Ty too green and too unknown. He'd obeyed boss Zanuck's instruction, but grudgingly. And whatever Ty did was not right.
So Tyrone got the boot. It hurt him -- bad.
But he drew a consolation prize in Ladies in Love. There were three stars in that--Constance Bennett, Loretta Young and Simone Simon again. All had leading men. Ty's part was the smallest lead for the smallest part. The picture was only fair, but once again letters swamped 20th Century-Fox about Tyrone Power. And Darryl Zanuck still had to have new blood. His directors told him this Power kid was just so-so, too stiff and stagy for the camera, too perfect in his talk for one thing. Damned near as correct as an Englishman. That gave Zanuck an idea.
One day Tyrone found a note in the dinky little dressing room he occupied, in the rows reserved for bit players and extras. It was along about option time, and he ruefully crumpled it up in his fist and tossed it into the wastebasket. "See me -- Darryl Zanuck" meant, he imagined, strike number two in Hollywood. He was snake bitten for luck at this studio. Directors were hostile. Stars standoffish. What the hell!
But he reported. Zanuck handed him the screen play of a super-special the studio was banking on to lead the year's program, Lloyds of London.
"Take this home," suggested Zanuck, "and read it. Maybe you'll do it."
Ty's spirits zoomed. He said nothing to his friends, not even his mother, but, secretive as always, locked himself in his room that night. He read the script from cover to cover, and as he read, his heart began to sink right into the rug. He knew Freddie Bartholomew was already cast as young Jonathan Blake in the picture, and Freddie was at the height of his sensational career. Ty could discover no other possible part for himself than Jonathan Blake. As he read he asked himself anxiously, "Where the heck do I come in?"
He took the script back. Zanuck eyed him keenly. "Think you can do it?"
Ty shrugged. "What is there to it?" At that Zanuck exploded. "What is there? Are you crazy? Just the whole picture -- that's all. Listen, son -- this one's a star maker!"
Suddenly it dawned on Ty that Freddie Bartholomew's part was the small one -- Jonathan Blake as a boy. What Zanuck had in mind for him was the star job -- Jonathan Blake grown up!
This time it was no give-away part. Ty had to earn it. He came up for a test, and tests were always his Jonahs. A little stock actress was assigned to emote with him. But when Ty got on the stage, shaky and scared to death, he almost fell over. There was a star he'd hardly dared approach before -- Alice Faye.
"Thought I might help," she smiled. "Can I run through this with you?" Could she! Alice had always felt bad about Ty's getting booted out of Sing, Baby, Sing. She has a heart built for size and, cannily wise in show business, she sensed this was the time to use it. Ty realized he did have friends after all. He calmed down. The test was a honey.
love on the ice . . .
Lloyds of London made Tyrone Power the hottest star in Hollywood. The picture made tons of money, and the picture was all Tyrone Power.
Ty had arrived, and he knew it. Something new and important had come into his life at long last.
But even before this turn in his life arrived, something else had struck him with a sweet, piercing pain. For the first time in his life, Tyrone Power fell in love.
It had been one day in the Cafe de Paris at 2oth Century--Fox that a chubby little blonde beauty with twinkling blue eyes and an impish smile tripped over to the table where Tyrone Power was having lunch and said:
"My name is Sonja Henie. I'm skating down at the Polar Palace. Won't you come and see my show? Here are two tickets."
Ty used the tickets. He sat, spellbound, at Sonja's symphony on skates. After the performance, he went backstage to congratulate her. "I hope I'll see you around the studio," Ty said. "I'm sure you will," Sonja laughed. They had a date the next night.
When Sonja finished One in a Million, that made her Number Five in Hollywood's top box-office ten, she went on a nationwide tour. At the same time, Tyrone Power, finishing Lloyds of London, took his first vacation. It was odd, columnists noted that at almost every city where Sonja played, Ty showed up -- Detroit, New York.
He was East on his vacation, after chasing Sonja around the country, when he got the telegram from the studio. "Report back at once," it said. "New picture going right into production." It was signed by the studio casting director. Quickly they had whipped up a picture to co-star Tyrone Power and Sonja Henie. Thin Ice was to be rushed out while the headlines were hot.
Theirs was a happy, young healthy romance. Both were in their early twenties, and neither had had a serious love before. It may have been a coincidence that from the minute he fell in love with Sonja Henie, Tyrone Power couldn't miss. Perhaps the emotion -- an experience of love affair -- was what he needed to mold him into a confident actor with a deeper, wider range. Anyway, all Ty's pictures were hits from then on, in rapid succession: Love is News, Cafe Metropole, Thin Ice (they finally made it),In Old Chicago, Second Honeymoon, Marie Antoinette. Tyrone Power became the biggest romantic young star in Hollywood. And with his own rising star that of Sonja Henie kept pace. Nothing at all loomed in the path of their marriage -- except that both Ty and Sonja were pretty young, and neither Patia Power nor Sonja's mother was too keen to see their brilliant children haltered by matrimony -- yet it might have happened, this story book wedding, if Sonja Henie hadn't taken a trip back to Norway. Ty saw her off on the train. She meant to be gone only a couple of months. She stayed six. That was too long.
no story book ending . . .
Tyrone Power was young, handsome, at the peak of his career and for the first time getting an intoxicating taste of glamorous Hollywood life. He was meeting celebrated people everywhere, and they were introducing him into the pleasant social life of the glittering screen colony. And he liked it. Ty never "went Hollywood" in all the time he was there. He always drove a modest car. He never threw his money around, became a clothes horse, nightclub barfly or a playtime Charley boy.
The only extravagance on record that Tyrone ever indulged in, in fact, while he was a great star, were foreign trips, an airplane, and once he leased an island off the Mexican coast with great plans to make it a romantic paradise retreat. A vivid, romantic imagination, never one of Ty's deficiencies, inspired that. But he seldom went overboard -- and never for girls. Although they besieged him (who wouldn't), Ty simply could never be a Casanova. He was far too sincere for that.
But Sonja, his one girl, was away for a long, long time, and those months of Tyrone's life were too full and exciting to sit and pine. One night he went to a Hollywood premiere and sat enchanted at a petite, auburn-haired actress making an amazing comeback. Ty watched the picture with all the adoration of a fervent fan. He remembered those days when he was ushering in the Cincinnati movie house, how he would stand back of the curtained rail in the rear and dream about this girl.
Janet Gaynor was romantically free then, and A Star is Born had invested her with a new glamour. Ty fell hard.
Sonja Henie learned about that in the newspapers.
It was more of a social, party and cafe romance than the Sonja Henie love. Janet moved in an established big-name Hollywood set. They went to smart dinner parties and danced at the latest, brightest places.
a gone goose . . .
But in this period, Tyrone made the picture that put him at the peak of his career, Alexander's Ragtime Band. By then his small-time beginner's contract had been ripped up time and again and a new one written. Alexander brought him a new boost. He was in the top money. On the face of things, Tyrone Power at last had everything he had ever dreamed of. He had everything but one thing very important -- a home.
Tyrone Power's romantic dreams of Janet Gaynor and any he had left over about Sonja Henie vanished one afternoon at the entrance to the little test stage above Stage 4 at 20th Century-Fox, one afternoon in 1938. Two tests were scheduled that afternoon. A mere make-up one for Tyrone Power, the star of Suez, soon to start shooting. And another of a new French actress who had never made an American picture. Hardly anybody in Hollywood knew Annabella Carpentier. Tyrone Power never had seen her.
Annabella had finished her test and hurried out the door at the exact moment Ty hurried in. They collided with a good, solid bump.
"Oh," gasped Ty, "pardon me!"
Annabella was so confused she lapsed into French, "Pardonnez moi!"
They looked at each other until the silence was embarrassing. Then the wardrobe girl introduced them. They didn't meet again until Suez began, but all the time Ty couldn't think of much else besides the pert, blonde beauty of Annabella and that intriguing way she talked. It wasn't a romance at first. There were some handicaps. First, because Annabella, though estranged was still legally married to Jean Murat, a French actor. She had a daughter, Ann, in France. Even if Ty had fallen hard, which he didn't right away, Annabella could not have said yes.
But she was something that the too serious, high strung and ambitious Tyrone Power had never met in Hollywood. She was a real person, a warm human being -- that first, and an actress second. For the first time in his life, Tyrone was not leading; he was being led.
And so, finally, Annabella went to France to get her divorce, and after Rose of Washington Square, Tyrone and a pal made a flying tour of South America. It was triumphant. It was riotous. All the Latin warmth, adoration and enthusiasm swamped Tyrone Power as he traveled from country to country.
But at last in Rio de Janeiro he had had enough.
He was at the Copacabana when the cable came. "Boat docks Rio tomorrow. Love Annabella."
And so at Rio, as the tiny boat lights twinkled out in the bay, and distant Sugar Loaf loomed blue-silver in the night, Ty whispered what he knew he would whisper one day and got his answer -- "Yes!"
They came back together and were married one Sunday in the Bel-Air house where Annabella lived. Charles Boyer gave her away, and his wife, Pat Paterson, was maid of honor. Patia Power was there and Sister Ann and Grandmother Reaume. There was no official honeymoon because Tyrone was working in The Rains Came. Later on, they had the honeymoon at, of all places, the Grand Canyon.
grand finale . . .
With Annabella, Tyrone has found a personal happiness he never approached in the restless striving days of his eager youth. With her he traveled to Europe, returned to the stage for summer stock. With her he bought his home at last, the lovely white house on a canyon's brink that Grace Moore had built but never lived in. With Annabella, Ty remodeled and furnished it to a bride-and-groom's dreams. With her, too, Ty went on acting, never lagging in the standards he had set for himself as the star. Johnny Apollo, Brigham Young, The Mark of Zorro, Blood and Sand, A Yank in the R.A.F., Son of Fury, This Above All, The Black Swan -- great pictures all.
And in this ripened phase of his life Tyrone, too, developed as a person. He had leisure to read and quiet evenings to talk and develop his philosophy of what it's all about. He has had the seasoning responsibilities of husbandry and adopted fatherhood to broaden his character. Even his slim body has matured into a powerful physique that makes his frail boyhood days unbelievable. He has become a responsible citizen and a man. And so he was ready to fact another more real and trying test. He was fit to serve his country when his country needed men.
Because Tyrone Power's short but outstanding record as a Marine is no accident. Months before he was enrolled he plunged into a rigorous regime of exercise to harden his body for the beating he knew he must take. For years he had seriously studied flying, buying a plane, winning his pilot's license and taking off steadily in defiance of his own studio's ban. That's why he tried desperately to get in naval aviation when war broke, and then, considered too old for that, he applied for the glider group, until it was discontinued. Now at last, after winning his bars the hard way in the Marines, Ty is in the air, in training at the Naval Air Station at Corpus Christi, Texas.
He was home in Hollywood on leave a few weeks ago -- tall and straight and tan with his dark hair cropped close and a keen enthusiastic look in his eyes.
He spent his ten-day leave at home with Annabella and his family. Only once did Ty leave his home. That was for a Naval Aid performance at the Playtime Theatre. The day after he left for Corpus Christi, Annabella left on a bond-boosting tour.
The brilliant career that lies behind him today is only a memory, and the future, bright again though it can be, is something he isn't worrying about yet.
The other day at Quantico, Lieutenant Power saw a young Marine in his teens slumping around the grounds with a sloppy carriage. He called him to attention and dressed him down. "At your age," he said severely, "you ought to be ashamed of yourself. I can hold myself straight and look at me -- pushing 30!"
Pushing 30. Ty thought that over afterwards, and his own words amazed him. He felt exactly as young and strong and as cocky and confident as he was at 17 when he set out alone from Cincinnati, lugging his dinky imitation leather valise, headed on the quest to make Broadway and Hollywood yield to him the fame and fortune which he sought. Now he was 29, pushing 30! It didn't seem possible.
Yet so much had happened.
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