Yes, they both worked for most of their careers at 20th Century Fox. Tyrone Power was perhaps the studio’s biggest star of the late Thirties and Forties, and Don Ameche was perhaps its most reliable go-to personality.
Hello, everybody. Your classic movie guys here today to pleasurably field reader e-mail about both Power (the subject of our TYRONE POWER Quiz, Aug. 21, with answers following on Aug. 29 and Aug. 30) and Ameche, profiled in our Who Was Don Ameche??, Aug. 28.
Our piece on Ameche inspired this affectionate and informative communique from Mark:
I’ve always liked Don Ameche, and would like to mention that he had a pleasant baritone singing voice and, among other successes as a “vocalist,” introduced the lovely Irving Berlin ballad “Now It Can Be Told” in 1938′s “ALEXANDER’S RAGTIME BAND.”
He also starred on Broadway in Cole Porter’s “SILK STOCKINGS” in the role played in the 1957 film version by Fred Astaire.
As an indication of Ameche’s great success in “THE STORY OF ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL,” take note of a line in 1941?s “BALL OF FIRE” in which nightclub singer (and gangster’s moll) Barbara Stanwyck tries to stop professor Gary Cooper from evicting her from the house where he and the other professors reside, by proving to him how much Cooper needs her to complete his study of contemporary American slang.
Stanwyck asks Cooper something like, “For instance would you know what it means when someone says: “Get him for me on the ‘Ameche’?” Cooper looks puzzled and Stanwyck says, “You know, the telephone, ’cause he invented it.” When Cooper starts to correct her, Stanwyck interrupts and says: “You know, in the movie!”
Interesting trivia: In the 1943 Broadway production “ONE TOUCH OF VENUS,” which provided Hollywood reject Mary Martin with her first smash hit as a Broadway star, one of the Kurt Weil/Ogden Nash songs, “Wooden Wedding,” has Kenny Baker’s humble barber imagining married life in suburbia with Martin’s earthbound goddess.
As he imagines the simple pleasures they’ll enjoy as a couple, one of them is “a double feature with Don Ameche.”
With a long and happy marriage and family life, his late in life Oscar win and a successful career that encompassed many venues of entertainment over a long life, Ameche was one “nice guy” who apparently, finished “first.”
Thanks so much, Mark. We couldn’t agree more.
From The Lady Eve comes this about Power’s first wife, the French actress Annabella:
Annabella’s American movie career was derailed by her marriage to Tyrone Power – which was against (Fox mogul) Darryl F. Zanuck’s wishes.
Zanuck was her boss as well as Power’s. When she and Ty divorced, she got a huge settlement. I suppose she must’ve felt it was her due since she gave up her career for him and their marriage hadn’t stopped him from regularly romancing his leading ladies, falling in love with the likes of Judy (Garland) and Lana (Turner) and seducing the occasional starlet along the way.
In any case, Lady Eve, Power led a short and glamorous life.