Errol Flynn may be considered Hollywood’s premier swashbuckler, but Tyrone Power clearly takes a strong second place. In fact their careers parallel in many ways: both thrived in costume epics, both were gifted atheletes, both were major stars of their respective studios and both were stricken by heath issues, dying relatively young (less than a year apart).
Power was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1914, hailing from a long line of performers, including his father, stage and silent screen actor Tyrone Power, Sr. The younger Power soon followed in the family tradition, making is way to Hollywood in the mid-1930s. After landing the lead in Lloyd’s of London, Power soon became one of 20th Century-Fox’s biggest stars. His career was interrupted by World War II where he served as a Marine cargo pilot in the Pacific Theatre.
Returning to Hollywood in 1946, Power starred in The Razor’s Edge, continuing his success at the box office. By the 1950’s however, his career began to falter as a new breed of movie star arrived. He died of a heart attack in 1958 at the age of 44.
Lloyd’s of London (1936)-Only Hollywood can make an insurance comapny central to an adventure story. Power’s first leading role.
Second Honeymoon (1937)-Power and Loretta Young as a divorced couple still in love. Will she leave her current husband for her ex?
In Old Chicago (1937)-Legend has it that Mrs. O’Leary’s cow started the Great Chicago Fire. O’Leary sons Tyrone Power and Don Ameche are both interested in Alice Faye (all three were frequent co-stars). Things ignite.
The Rains Came (1939)-Set in India, Power plays a native doctor in love with Myrna Loy. Their courtship is marred by her husband…then an earthquake…then a flood…then a plague!
The Mark of Zorro (1940)-Power takes to the sword as the dashing outlaw, with Linda Darnell as his love and Basil Rathbone as the villain.
A Yank in the R.A.F. (1941)-He’s an American pilot, Betty Grable is a nightclub singer. With Fox’s two biggest stars, it’s no surprise it was a major hit.
The Black Swan (1942)-Power is a pirate captain, Maureen O’Hara is the governor’s daughter. Moviegoers might recognized plot points later used in Pirates of the Caribbean (2003).
The Razor’s Edge (1946)-based on the acclaimed novel by W. Somerset Maugham featuring an all-star cast: Power, Gene Tierney, Clifton Webb, Anne Baxter (winning the Best Supposrting Actress Oscar) and Herbert marshall (as Maugham).
Nightmare Alley (1947)-After the war, Tyrone Power campaign for darker roles. Here he plays a con man taking a job with a travelling carnival.
The Captain From Castile (1947)-In this historical adventure, Power plays a Spaniard who joins the Cortes expedition to conquer Mexico. Yes, that’s a real erupting volcano in the final scene.
Rawhide (1951)-Bandits have taken over the stagecoach station! Power must protect Susan Hayward and her infant niece!
The Sun Also Rises (1957)-Power and Ava Gardner co-star with Erroll Flynn in this adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s acclaimed novel.
Witness for the Prosecution (1957)-Tyrone Power stands as the accused in the film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s short story. It would be his last film.
Do you have a favorite Tyrone Power movie?