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Dick Powell

Dick Powell

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TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (15)

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The Busby... Fans of modern movie musicals like "Chicago" (2002) and "Hairspray"... more info $59.98was $59.98 Buy Now

The Enemy... "An engrossing duel of wits!" -VarietyRobert Mitchum and Curt Jurgens star in... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

42nd Street... This timeless behind-the-scenes musical is a dazzling piece of entertainment.... more info $5.99was $19.98 Buy Now

A Midsummer... Shakespeare's sexy comedy of fairies and fickle love comes rollicking to life in... more info $7.99was $19.98 Buy Now

Christmas In... The second film from acclaimed writer-director Preston Sturges, this movie stars... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Four Star... A quartet of Golden Age All-Star television dramas all featuring the legendary... more info $6.98was $6.98 Buy Now

Also Known As: Richard E. Powell Died: January 3, 1963
Born: November 14, 1904 Cause of Death: Cancer
Birth Place: Mountain View, Arkansas, USA Profession: Cast ... actor singer director producer
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BIOGRAPHY

A romantic singing lead in a number of musicals throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Dick Powell traded in his tenor voice and good guy image to take on a more hard-boiled persona following a career-transforming performance as Phillip Marlowe in the classic film noir "Murder, My Sweet" (1944). Prior to that film, Powell was a bankable star in several big screen extravaganzas like "Footlight Parade" (1933), "42nd Street" (1933) and "Dames (1934). Having worked many times with famed choreographer-director Busby Berkeley, the actor cemented his place as a go-to leading man in lighthearted musical comedies, along the way forming notable onscreen pairings with Ruby Keeler and Joan Blondell, the latter of whom he married in 1936. Despite his success in films like "Happiness Ahead" (1934), "Broadway Gondolier" (1935) and "Hollywood Hotel" (1937), Powell craved the opportunity to branch out into other roles. Preston Sturges gave him the lead in the Capra-esque screwball comedy "Christmas in July" (1940), but the actor remained unsatisfied. After unsuccessfully lobbying for the lead in "Double Indemnity" (1944), he landed the Marlowe role in "Murder, My Sweet" and propelled his career in an entirely new direction with bleak noirs like "Cornered" (1945), "Johnny O'Clock" (1947), "Pitfall" (1948) and "Cry Danger" (1951). Powell turned to directing in the mid-1950s, but found greater success as the president of Four Star Television. Though his life ended prematurely, Powell radically transformed his career through a combination of talent and sheer will.

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