Powell was a divine man and a great friend. If an actor thought he could get any place by having tantrums, watching Bill Powell would have altered his opinion. I remember a story conference during which he objected to a scene that he felt wasn’t right for him. He was at once imperious and lucid. “It’s beyond my histrionic ability to do this,” he said. I thought that was delicious. | ROSALIND RUSSELL


Jean Harlow and William Powell on the set of “Reckless”, 1935.

Bill Powell + cigarettes


Several wirehaired terriers played our scene-stealing pet over the years, but we weren’t allowed to make friends with any of them. Their trainer feared it would break the dogs’ concentration. The first one, Skippy, bit me once, so our relationship was hardly idyllic. My relationship with Bill was. We became very close friends, but, contrary to popular belief, we were never really married or even close to it. Oh, there were times when Bill had a crush on me and times when I had a crush on Bill, but we never made anything of it. We worked around it and stayed pals. In this world today, nobody seems to understand how you can just be terribly close and love somebody a whole lot and not sleep with him. If Bill and I had been lovers, then we would have had fights. And if we’d been married, it would have been even worse. —Myrna Loy

My Man Godfrey (1936)

Cheesy pick-up lines: Bill Powell’s edition.


Happy Birthday William Horatio Powell | July 29th, 1892 March 5th, 1984

Powell’s intelligence and authenticity always shone through. His films merit a new look from new generations because, contrary to what one can expect from his “suave” and “sophisticated” image, he brought a dose of reality and humanity to every movie. No matter how outlandish or posh or melodramatic the setting, Powell found the human touch. Sometimes it was through a witty remark, other times through an emotion passing across his face. Often it was through his large, expressive eyes or his wonderful, well-modulated voice.

Bill Powell is the only intellegent actor I’ve ever met. | Carole Lombard

I never enjoyed my work more than when I worked with William Powell. He was a brilliant actor, a delightful companion, a great friend and above all, a true gentleman. | Myrna Loy