Please don’t hold today’s headline against us.
If it seems a tad hyperbolic, that is because it is. How else would you name a museum exhibition devoted to Tyrone Power? A little bit of hype can go a long way here.
Like Deanna Durbin, Power is one of those period Hollywood personalities who still exerts a peculiarly strong fascination for contemporary classic movie fans. Whenever we run something on this handsome 20th Century Fox star of the Forties and Fifties, we invariably draw email — which we love to get.
One of our readers, The Lady Eve, emailed to tell us that Power’s life was, indeed, short and glamorous. But he was also a much better actor than he has been generally given credit for – and this may have been what was most difficult for him to bear. He wanted to be taken seriously for his acting talent – but it was his incredible good looks and onscreen charisma that Fox valued above all else.
Getting back to our opening statement, that exhibition referred to has been mounted by The Hollywood Museum, which bills the event as “the nation’s largest exhibit of authentic memorabilia honoring Power’s life.”
The exhibition is currently running through Jan. 11 at the Museum’s Max Factor Building at 1660 North Highland Ave. at Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. (Telephone number is: 323-464-7776.) So if you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by.
On display are some fascinating items: Power’s personal scripts from several of his best known movies including 1946’s The Razor’s Edge and 1941’s Blood and Sand; costumes the actor wore in 1940’s The Mark of Zorro and 1947’s Captain From Castile; and a rich selection of many photographs covering Power’s career and private life. And that’s just scratching the surface.
The memorabilia was assembled from the private collections of several individuals including three of Power’s four children, Tyrone Jr. — pictured below gazing at his dad; the senior Power was born Tyrone Edmund Power Jr. but dropped the “Jr,” thus his son is Ty Jr.) — Taryn and Romina.
After several strenuous sword-fight scenes with Sanders, Power — who also co-produced the picture — collapsed complaining of pains in his chest and arms. The end came on Nov. 15, 1958, before the movie was completed. Power was just 44 years old. (He was replaced by Yul Brynner)
In his 1960 book about himself — Memoirs of a Professional Cad — Sanders noted that when stars became producers, their attachment to money tends to grow. They start saving, acquiring financial acumen.
This of course was not true of all of them — Ty Power’s attitude for instance was different. He spent his money freely. He had a yacht, a private aeroplane, and gave lavish parties. And women, who are usually more expensive than yachts and aeroplanes, found ways of spending his money when he ran out of ideas.
Ty didn’t seem to mind. Perhaps he had some premonition that he did not need to save for his old age.
Sanders eulogized his friend with these words: I shall always remember Tyrone Power as a bountiful man. A man who gave freely of himself. It mattered not to whom he gave.
His concern was in the giving. I shall always remember his wonderful smile, a smile that would light up the darkest hour of the day like a sunburst.
I shall always remember Tyrone Power as a man who gave more of himself than it was wise for him to give. Until in the end he gave his life.