Dick Powell, unknown date
Dick Powell on Wikipedia
Dick Powell on the Internet Movie Database
Dick Powell with Joan Blondell
Forecourt Ceremony held on Wednesday, February 10, 1937
Born: Richard Ewing Powell, November 14, 1904, in Mountain View, Arkansas
Age at the time of the ceremony: 32
Died: January 2, 1963, in West Los Angeles, California, age 58
Dick Powell was one of the top film musical stars of the early sound period, appearing in 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933, and Footlight Parade. He is almost more noteworthy for switching gears to play detective Philip Marlow in Murder My Sweet, and later, becoming a director and television producer.

Born in northern Arkansas, the Powell family moved to Little Rock when Richard was ten. Here, he indulged in his musical gifts by singing in the church choir and forming a (dance) band. After attending Little Rock College, 21 year old Powell went on tour with the Royal Peacock Band and the Charlie Davis Orchestra, got married, got divorced, and began making records — all before the start of the sound era.

Moving to Pittsburgh, Powell served as Master of Ceremonies at the Enright and the Stanley theaters. In 1930, Warner Bros. bought the record label Powell had been recording with. Warner execs took a look at their new assets, and offered Powell a film contract in 1932. His first film was in a supporting role as a bandleader in Blessed Event (released in September 1932).

Powell was given hefty supporting parts in several comedies, in one of which, 42nd Street (released in March 1933) starring Warner Baxter, Powell sang a few songs, and captured the heart of America. Even before 42nd Street was released, Warners put Powell in Gold Diggers of 1933 as the male star (Diggers played the Chinese in June 1933), and it was here that Powell met Joan Blondell (they would marry each other in 1936).

When Powell's film On The Avenue opened at the Chinese in February 1937, he and Blondell were asked to make their impressions in the forecourt. Despite the fact that Powell wrote "Thanks a Million" on his block, and Blondell wrote "Thanks Two Million" on the block next to his, photos show that Blondell made her inscription first.

Knowing that changes were in the air, Powell kept at his young man routine through the war years, but in 1944, he was able to convince director Edward Dmytryk to cast him as Philip Marlow in their adaptation of Raymond Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely, called Murder, My Sweet (released in February 1945). Joan Blondell must not have cared for the new Dick Powell — they divorced in 1944.

But despite his new tough-guy image, he mustn't have changed all that much — he married June Allyson in 1945, and they remained married until his death. Powell starred in the noirs Cornered (released in November 1945), Johnny O'Clock (released in January 1947), Pitfall (released in August 1948), and Cry Danger (released in February 1951). In the late 1940s, Powell starred in the NBC radio show Richard Diamond, Private Detective.

Powell temed up with Charles Boyer, David Niven, Joel McCrea (who dropped out), and Ida Lupino to found Four Star Television, which landed several shows on network schedules, including The Dick Powell Show, and (go figure) The June Allyson Show. Powell lept into the director's chair, helming Split Second with Stephen McNally (released in May 1953), The Conqueror with John Wayne (released in March 1956), You Can't Run Away from It with June Allyson (released in October 1956), The Enemy Below with Robert Mitchum (released in December 1957), and The Hunters with Robert Mitchum (released in September 1958).

Powell was diagnosed with cancer of the neck and chest in late 1962. He died the following January, at the age of 58. Later, his widow June Allyson, confirmed that Powell had died of lung cancer as a result of being a chain-smoker.
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. Dick Powell Forecourt block. Executed by Jean Klossner, Wednesday, February 10, 1937. 48 x 36 inches.
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. Dick Powell / Joan Blondell Forecourt ceremony, Wednesday, February 10, 1937. Joan Blondell looks on as Dick Powell has his foot imprinted by cement artist Jean Klossner.
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