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Tyrone Power Jr. was born Tyrone Edmund Power, Jr. in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1914. His father was the very noted stage actor Tyrone Power Sr, who also made some movies. Surprisingly Tyrone Jr. was a frail, sickly child, and his parents moved to California in the hopes it would help his health. When he was a small boy his parents divorced, and his mother later moved to Cincinnati, where her family was from, and she was a stage actress, and also as a drama and voice coach. Tyrone spent the summer of 1931 with his famous father, but his dad died later that year. He tried to follow in his father's footsteps in movies, but found few parts. He went to New York, where he appeared in a few plays, and in 1936 he was signed to a contract by 20th Century Fox. After a few small parts, he was given the lead in Lloyd's of London (although he was 4th billed!), and that made him a major star. He became Fox's answer to Warner's Errol Flynn and MGM's Robert Taylor, and he starred in 21 movies (including Jesse James, The Mark of Zorro, where he showed great prowess as a swordsman, and Blood and Sand) between 1937 and 1942, when he joined the Marine Reserves. He made Crash Dive in 1943 while serving, and then his next movie was The Razor's Edge in 1946. The following year Power tried to change his image with the lead in the gritty film noir, Nightmare Alley, but the film (although excellent) did not do well at the box office, and he returned to action movies. But Power was tired of playing the same sorts of roles over and over, and in 1950 he went to England and played the lead in Mister Roberts on the stage, and then John Brown's Body on Broadway, and on a national tour, followed by another play, The Dark is Light Enough. In between he did some movies, but his heart was not in them. In 1957 he made Billy Wilder's Witness for the Prosecution, where he was wonderful as Leonard Vole. It makes one wonder how many other fine performances he might have given had he not been pushed into so many action movies. The next year Power was back on stage, but he signed to play the lead in Solomon and Sheba, returning him to the swashbuckling type of role he had tried to get away from for so long. Ironically, he died of a heart attack while filming a dueling scene in 1958. He was just 44 years old. Tyrone Power's name is synonymous with being a great lover, but all he really wanted was to be a great actor. One wonders if his great looks that made women swoon didn't hurt his career just as much as it helped him.
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