Filmography

1922      

Sherlock Holmes

When Knighthood Was in Flower

Outcast

 

1923      

The Bright Shawl

Under the Red Robe

 

1924      

Dangerous Money

Romola

 

1925      

Too Many Kisses

Faint Perfume

My Lady’s Lips

The Beautiful City

 

1926      

White Mice

Sea Horses

Desert Gold

The Runaway

 Aloma of the South Seas

Beau Geste

The Great Gatsby

Tin Gods

 

1927      

New York

Love’s Greatest Mistake

Special Delivery

Senorita

Time to Love

Paid to Love

Nevada

She’s a Sheik

 

1928      

Beau Sabreur

The Last Command

Feel My Pulse

Partners in Crime

The Drag Net

The Vanishing Pioneer

Forgotten Faces

Interference

 

1929      

The Canary Murder Case

The Four Feathers

The Greene Murder Case

Charming Sinners

Pointed Heels

 

1930      

Behind the Make-Up

Street of Chance

The Benson Murder Case

Paramount on Parade

Shadow of the Law

For the Defense

 

1931      

Man of the World

Ladies’ Man

The Road to Singapore

 

1932      

High Pressure

Jewel Robbery

One Way Passage

Lawyer Man

 

1933      

Private Detective 62

Double Harness

The Kennel Murder Case

 

1934      

Fashions of 1934

Manhattan Melodrama

The Thin Man

The Key

Evelyn Prentice

 

1935      

Star of Midnight

Reckless

Escapade

Rendezvous

 

1936      

The Great Ziegfeld

The Ex-Mrs. Bradford

My Man Godfrey

Libeled Lady

After the Thin Man

 

1937      

The Last of Mrs. Cheney

The Emperor’s Candlesticks

Double Wedding

 

1938      

The Baroness and the Butler

 

1939      

Another Thin Man

 

1940      

I Love You Again

 

1941      

Love Crazy

Shadow of the Thin Man

 

1942      

Crossroads

 

1944      

The Heavenly Body

 

1945      

The Youngest Profession

 Ziegfeld Follies

The Thin Man Goes Home

 

1946      

The Hoodlum Saint

 The Great Morgan

 

1947      

Life with Father

Song of the Thin Man

The Senator Was Indiscreet

 

1948      

Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid

 

1949      

Take One False Step

Dancing in the Dark

 

1951      

It’s a Big Country

 

1952      

The Treasure of Lost Canyon

 

1953      

The Girl Who Had Everything

 How to Marry a Millionaire

 

1955      

Mister Roberts

Awards

He was nominated for 3 Best Actor in a Leading Role Academy Awards

1934 The Thin Man
1936 My Man Godfrey
1948 Life with Father

Dessert is probably the most important stage of the meal, since it will be the last thing your guests remember before they pass out all over the table. ~ William Powell

William Powell: Learn more about him, review his filmography and more

Actors, Biographies

In 1924, after 10 years on the stage, Powell got a contract with Paramount Pictures, where he was employed for the next seven years. During that time, he played in a number of interesting films, but stardom was elusive. He did finally attract attention with The Last Command (1928) as Leo, the arrogant film director. Stardom finally came via his role as Philo Vance in The Canary Murder Case (1929), in which he investigates the death of Louise Brooks, “the Canary.” Unlike many silent actors, sound boosted Powell’s career. He had a fine, urbane voice and his stage training and comic timing greatly aided his introduction to sound pictures. However, he was not happy with the type of roles he was playing, so in 1931 he switched to Warner Bros. There, he again became disappointed with his roles, and his last appearance for Warners was as Philo Vance in The Kennel Murder Case (1933). In 1934 Powell went to MGM, where he was teamed with Myrna Loy in Manhattan Melodrama (1934). While Philo made Powell a star, another detective, Nick Charles, made him famous. Powell received an Academy Award nomination for The Thin Man (1934) and later starred in the Best Picture winner for 1936, The Great Ziegfeld.

Powell could play any role with authority, whether in a comedy, thriller, or drama. He received his second Academy Award nomination for My Man Godfrey (1936) and was on top of the world until 1937, when he made his first picture with Jean Harlow, Reckless (1935). The two clicked, off-screen as well as on-screen, and shortly became engaged. One day, while Powell was filming Double Wedding (1937) on one MGM sound stage, Harlow, who was on another sound stage, became ill. She was finally taken to the hospital, where she died. Her death greatly upset both Powell and Myrna Loy, and he took six weeks off from making the movie to deal with his sorrow. After that he traveled, not making another MGM film for a year. He eventually did five sequels to “The Thin Man,” the last one in 1947. He also received his third Academy Award nomination for his work in Life with Father (1947). His screen appearances became less frequent after that, and his last role was in 1955.

Powell died in Palm Springs, California, on March 5, 1984, at the age of 91, some 30 years after his retirement. He is buried at the Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California, near his third wife Diana Lewis, and his only child, his son William David Powell