Tyrone Edmund Power, Jr., usually credited as Tyrone Power and known sometimes as Ty Power, was an American film and stage actor who appeared in dozens of films from the 1930s to the 1950s, often in swashbuckler roles or romantic leads such as in The Mark of Zorro, Blood and Sand, The Black Swan, Prince of Foxes, The Black Rose, and Captain from Castile.
Though renowned for his dark, classically handsome looks that made him a matinee idol from his first film appearance, Power played a wide range of roles, from film noir to light romantic comedy. In the 1950s, he began placing limits on the number of movies he would make in order to have time for the stage. He received his biggest accolades as a stage actor in John Brown’s Body and Mister Roberts. Power died from a heart attack at the age of 44.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1914, the only son of the English-born American stage and screen actor Tyrone Power, Sr., and Helen Emma “Patia” Reaume, Power was descended from a long theatrical line going back to his great-grandfather, the Irish-born actor and comedian Tyrone Power. He had French blood from both his parents, being descended from Catholic French Canadians through his mother’s Reaume family, and from Protestant Huguenots through his paternal grandmother’s Lavenu and Blossett ancestors. Through his paternal great grandmother, Anne Gilbert, Power was related to the actor Lord Laurence Olivier; through his paternal grandmother, Ethel Lavenu, he was related by marriage to author Evelyn Waugh and through his father’s first cousin, Norah Emily Gorman Power, he was related to the theatrical director Sir Tyrone Guthrie, founder of the Stratford Theatre in Canada and the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
During the first year of Power’s life, he lived in Cincinnati. His father was absent for long periods due to his stage commitments in New York. Young Power was a sickly child, and his doctor advised his family that the climate in California might be better for his health. The family moved there in 1915, and Power’s sister Anne was born there on August 26, 1915. The parents appeared together on stage and, in 1917, their movie, The Planter, was released. Tyrone Power, Sr., as he later became known, found himself away from home more frequently, as his stage career took him to New York. The Powers drifted apart, and they divorced around 1920.