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Richard Ewing Powell

Also Known As: "Dick"
Birthplace: Mountain View, AR, USA
Death: Died in Los Angeles, CA, USA
Cause of death: Stomach cancer
Immediate Family:

Son of Ewing Powell; Ewing Powell; Sallie Rowena Powell and Sarah Rowena Thompson
Husband of Mildred Powell and June Allyson
Ex-husband of Joan Blondell and Mildred Maund
Father of <private> Powell; <private> Powell and <private> Powell
Brother of Howard Smith Powell; Luther Powell; Howard Smith Powell and Luther Powell

Occupation: Singer, Actor, Producer, Director, Studio executive
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Dick Powell

Richard Ewing Powell, commonly known as Dick Powell, enjoyed a long and far-ranging career which brought him great success in music, film and television. Born in Mountain View, Arkansas on November 14, 1903, Powell regularly sang in both school and church choirs as a child, his soprano voice eventually becoming a tenor; at the same time, he also learned to play a number of instruments, including the saxophone, cornet and banjo. In his late teens, he joined Kentucky's Royal Peacock Orchestra, and during the late '20s sang and played with Charlie Davis, with whom Powell made a number of early recordings. By the early '30s, he had relocated to Indianapolis to serve as Master of Ceremonies at the Circle Theater, later assuming the same duties at Pittsburgh's Stanley Theater; there Powell was discovered by a Warner Brothers talent scout, and quickly signed to a movie contract.

Powell made his film debut in 1932's Blessed Event, but he shot to stardom a year later alongside another Hollywood newcomer, Ruby Keeler, in the classic Lloyd Bacon/Busby Berkeley backstage musical 42nd Street, which included such classic Harry Warren and Al Dubin compositions as "Shuffle Off to Buffalo," "You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me" and the title song. The picture established Powell as a leading musical star, and in the years to follow, he starred in such smashes as Gold Diggers of 1933, Footlight Parade and On the Avenue, often appearing in the company of Keeler and wife Joan Blondell; among the songs his movies popularized were "We're in the Money," "I Only Have Eyes for You," "Lullaby of Broadway," "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" and "Jeepers Creepers."

At the same time, Powell was very active in radio, regularly appearing on programs including Hollywood Hotel, Old Gold (with the Ted Fio Rito Band) and Hollywood Party; from 1942 to 1943, he also hosted his own broadcast, Dick Powell Serenade. During the early '40s, he turned more towards comedy and dramas, and in 1944 switched gears entirely to successfully portray world-weary gumshoe Philip Marlowe in the Raymond Chandler adaptation Murder, My Sweet. From that point on, Powell was firmly established as a tough guy, and he was as popular in these roles as he had been in musicals; by the early '50s, he was also directing and producing pictures. Powell also served as founder and president of Four Star Television, a pioneering TV production company, and from 1959 to 1961, he presented the popular series Dick Powell Theater. He continued working regularly until his death from cancer on January 3, 1963.

FILM CREDITS (partial)

Too Busy to Work (1932) - Dan Hardy

Blessed Event (1932) - Bunny Harmon

Road Is Open Again, The (1933) - The Songwriter

King's Vacation, The (1933) - John Kent

Convention City (1933) - Jerry Ford

42nd Street (1933) - Billy Lawler

Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933) - Brad Roberts (Robert Treat Bradford)

Footlight Parade (1933) - Scott "Scotty" Blair

College Coach (1933) - Phil Sargent

Wonder Bar (1934) - Tommy

Flirtation Walk (1934) - Dick "Canary" Dorcey

Dames (1934) - Jimmy Higgins

Happiness Ahead (1934) - Bob Lane

Twenty Million Sweethearts (1934) - Buddy Clayton

Thanks a Million (1935) - Eric Land

Broadway Gondolier (1935) - Richard Purcell

Page Miss Glory (1935) - Bingo Nelson

Midsummer Night's Dream, A (1935) - Lysander

Shipmates Forever (1935) - Richard John "Dick" Melville III

Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935) - Dick Curtis

Stage Struck (1936) - George Randall

Colleen (1936) - Donald Ames III

Hearts Divided (1936) - Captain Jerome Bonaparte

Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936) - Rosmer Peck

Varsity Show (1937) - Chuck Daly

On the Avenue (1937) - Gary Blake

Singing Marine, The (1937) - Bob Brent

Hard to Get (1938) - Bill Davis

Hollywood Hotel (1938) - Ronnie Bowers

Cowboy from Brooklyn, The (1938) - Elly Jordan

Going Places (1938) - Peter Mason, aka Peter Randall

Naughty But Nice (1939) - Professor Donald Hardwick

I Want a Divorce (1940) - Alan MacNally

Christmas in July (1940) - Jimmy MacDonald

Model Wife (1941) - Fred Chambers

In the Navy (1941) - Tommy Halstead/Russ Raymond

Star Spangled Rhythm (1942) - Himself

True to Life (1943) - Link Ferris

Riding High (1943) - Steve Baird

Happy Go Lucky (1943) - Pete Hamilton

Murder, My Sweet (1944) - Philip Marlowe

Meet the People (1944) - William "Swanee" Swanson

It Happened Tomorrow (1944) - Larry Stevens

Cornered (1945) - Gerard

Johnny O'Clock (1947) - Johnny O'Clock

Rogues' Regiment (1948) - Whit Corbett

Pitfall (1948) - John Forbes

Station West (1948) - Haven

To the Ends of the Earth (1948) - Commissioner Michael Barrows

Mrs. Mike (1949) - Sgt. Mike Flannigan

Right Cross (1950) - Rick Gavery

Reformer and the Redhead, The (1950) - Andrew Rockton Hale

You Never Can Tell (1951) - Rex Shepherd

Tall Target, The (1951) - John Kennedy

Cry Danger (1951) - Rocky Mulloy

Callaway Went Thataway (1951) - Cameo

Bad and the Beautiful, The (1952) - James Lee Bartlow

Susan Slept Here (1954) - Mark Christopher


Four Star Playhouse (1952) TV Series - Alternate Lead Player

Best in Mystery, The (1956) TV Series - Willie Dante

Zane Grey Theater (1956) TV Series - Host/Occasional Lead Player

... aka Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater (1956)

Dick Powell Show, The (1961) TV Series - Host/Occasional Lead Player

... aka Dick Powell Theatre, The (1963) (new title)


Conqueror, The (1956)

You Can't Run Away from It (1956)

Enemy Below, The (1957)

Hunters, The (1958)

Dick Powell Show, The (1961) TV Series

... aka Dick Powell Theatre, The (1963) (new title)


Split Second (1953)

Conqueror, The (1956)

You Can't Run Away from It (1956)

Enemy Below, The (1957)

Hunters, The (1958)

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Dick Powell's Timeline

November 14, 1904
Mountain View, AR, USA
January 2, 1963
Age 58
Los Angeles, CA, USA