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Hollywood Profile…Tyrone Power, Sr.

Friday, November 14th, 2008


Tyrone Power, Sr.





By Allan R. Ellenberger



Tyrone Power Sr., the father of popular matinee idol, Tyrone Power, was a member of one of England’s most famous stage families and was widely known on the American stage and screen.


The actor was born Frederick Tyrone Power in London, England on May 2, 1869 to Harold Power and Ethel Lavenue, a popular dramatic team of the English stage. Power, the namesake of his grandfather, the legendary Irish actor, Tyrone Power (1795-1841), began his stage career touring Europe with his parents. Later he came to America and started an orange grove in Florida. When that venue failed, he returned to the theatre where he rose to fame on the Broadway stage, using the name, Tyrone Power II. For more than two decades he gained widespread attention in Shakespearean plays and in such productions as The Wandering Jew and The Servant in the House.


Walter Hampden, Arthur Lewis and Tyrone Power in The Servant in the House


Most of his life had been devoted to the stage although he appeared in silent films during the pioneer days of motion pictures. His last film role was as the villain in The Big Trail (1931), an early talkie western.


Power had just completed an eastern tour with the Chicago Shakespeare Company when he returned to Hollywood in early December 1931 to appear in the title role of The Miracle Man (1932), at Paramount. The film, a remake of the 1919 Lon Chaney classic, was directed by Norman Z. McLeod and starred Sylvia Sidney and Chester Morris.


At about 9 p.m. on Tuesday evening, December 29, Power finished filming for the day  and retired to his room at the Hollywood Athletic Club. With him were his son, Tyrone, Jr. and his attorney, Francis D. Adams. They talked until 11 p.m. when Adams left. At around midnight, Power suffered a heart attack and a physician was summoned, but emergency treatment was to no avail. Power died in the arms of his son, early on the morning of December 30, 1931 (not December 23 as reported on


The Hollywood Athletic Club where Tyrone Power, Sr. died.


Power’s simple funeral rites were held the following Saturday from the A. E. Maynes Chapel, 1201 South Flower Street. The pallbearers were H. B. Warner, Rupert Julian, Arno Lucy, Sidney Olcott, Edmund Breese, Lawrence Grant, and Claude Gillingwater.


Actor and friend, Ian Keith delivered the eulogy, saying:


“The curtain is rung down. The prompter has left his box. You have played your last great role on your mortal stage, Tyrone. But you know that the Great Dramatist has prepared a finer role for you than any you played here.”


Tyrone Power, Sr. and his son, Tyrone Power


Besides his son, Tyrone, Power was survived by an ex-wife, Patia and his daughter Anne.


After the services, Power’s body was cremated at the Los Angeles Crematory. A few months later, Tyrone and his mother scattered the ashes up the Richelieu River at Isle Aux Noix, Quebec, Canada, near the actor’s home, Two Pines.


Power was replaced in The Miracle Man by his close friend, Hobart Bosworth, who closely resembled the actor. “It does seem odd that I should be the one to replace him in this role after all these years,” Bosworth said. “We were warm friends and I only hope that I can do justice to the role in his stead.”


When Tyrone Power placed his hands and footprints in cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, he wrote: “To Sid, following in my father’s footsteps.”



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