How much did you know about one of Hollywood’s biggest stars of the 1930s and 40s?
From the silents to character roles in the 1950s– what a career. And, by the way, can you identify he woman to the left above? If not, be sure to check out the following answers to our Monday William Powell Quiz.
Here we go:
1) Question: Powell played a number of detective characters onscreen. Which one of the following did he NOT play? a) Sherlock Homes; b) Nick Charles; c) Philo Vance; or d) Inspector Maigret.
1) Answer: Powell never played the famed French sleuth, Inspector Maigret of countless Georges Simenon novels, in any format. The actor is best known for his portrayals of Nick Charles and Philo Vance.
2) Question: Powell’s starring role in 1934’s Manhattan Melodrama is remembered today principally for reasons surrounding its showing at Chicago’s Biograph Theater. Can you explain?
2) Answer: Manhattan Melodrama was the last movie that the 31-year-old John Dillinger ever saw. He was gunned down by FBI agents outside the Biograph on the sweaty night of July 22, 1934. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the movie?
3) Question: Myrna Loy and Powell were famously paired in the exquisite Thin Man series of movies based on the work of novelist Dashiell Hammett. How many did they make together? a) eight; b) six; c) 14; or d) three.
3) Answer: Myrna Loy and Powell made 14 movies together, (b) six of which were Thin Man pictures made over a dozen years. The Thin Man titles are: The Thin Man (1934), After The Thin Man (1936), Another Thin Man (1939), Shadow of the Thin Man (1941), The Thin Man Goes Home (1945) and Song of the Thin Man (1947).
4) Question: Although careful when speaking about costar Powell in public, Loy privately disliked the actor intensely. a) True; or b) False?
4) Answer: b) False. Loy was a big fan of Powell’s. She referred to him as a “brilliant actor, delightful companion, a great friend and, above all, a true gentleman.”
5) Question: Which one of young, female costars slapped Powell so hard onscreen that one side of his face caved in? a) Joan Crawford; b) Tallulah Bankhead; c) Esther Williams; or d) Lupe Velez.
5) Answer: c) Esther Williams. Powell when he was 54 costarred with a 27-year-old Esther in 1946’sThe Hoodlum Saint. She was directed to slap the elder actor hard, and Esther did just that. To her horror, one side of his face collapsed. Makeup staff rushed onto the set and went to work. She later wrote: When the makeup men were finished, it looked as if somebody had pulled all of his face up towards the top of his head. It was an instant face-lift, which is what they did for older actors instead of plastic surgery back then.
6) Question: Who was Powell married to just before she fell in love with Clark Gable? a) Eileen Wilson; b) Diana Lewis; c) Hedy Lamarr; or d) Carole Lombard.
6) Answer: d) Famously, Powell married (d) Carole Lombard in 1931. The marriage lasted just two years, and soon after it ended, Clark Gable entered.
7) Question: Powell drew best-actor Oscar nominations three times. Which one of the following pictures was he NOT nominated for? a) 1934’s The Thin Man; b) 1936’s My Man Godfrey; c) 1948’s Life With Father; or d) 1936’s The Great Ziegfeld.
7) Answer: d) The Great Ziegfeld.
8) Question: In 1937, Powell was forced to suspend his career for medical reasons. What was his ailment? a) Severe stomach problems; b) An abdominal ailment; c) A heart attack; or d) rectal cancer.
8) Answer: d) Rectal cancer, a condition Powell kept from the public for decades. About beating the cancer, he said: I was one of the lucky ones.
9) Question: Powell’s love affair with this bumptious sexpot was perhaps the most spectacular of his life. Who was this vixen? a) Joan Crawford; b) Clara Bow; c) Jean Harlow; d) Jeanne Eagels.
9) Answer: c) Jean Harlow. That’s her above with Powell in happier times.
10) Question: What is the title of the last movie that Powell ever made? a) 1953’s How To Marry A Millionaire; b) 1952’s The Treasure of Lost Canyon; c) 1955’s Mister Roberts; or d) 1953’s The Girl Who Had Everything.
10) Answer: c) Mister Roberts. By the time he made the picture, the 63-year-old Powell was coping with various medical problems and found himself forgetting his lines for the first time in his career. He retired as soon as the picture was finished. He lived on another 28 years in retirement, dying at age 91.