Family & Companions
Ever-smiling, world-class tap artist who danced her way through a dozen successful MGM musicals in the late 1930s and early 40s before retiring from the screen--save for a guest role in "The Duchess of Idaho" (1950). Typically cast as the determined hopeful whose talent and determination get her to the top, Powell was not a major actress, but she did display exuberance and a certain tongue-in-cheek charm, and her aggressive, androgynous dancing style made her as familiar a sight in top hat and tails as Fred Astaire.
Powell's best films include "Broadway Melody of 1936" (1935), which made her a star, its two sequels from 1938 and 1940 (the latter featuring her legendary "Begin the Beguine" duet with Astaire), and "Born to Dance" (1936). Generally a solo dancer, the acrobatic Powell did have George Murphy on hand in several films as a partner; she also teamed with comedian Red Skelton for three films, the best of which is "Ship Ahoy" (1942). Married to actor Glenn Ford from 1943 to 1959, Powell hosted an acclaimed religious program in the 1950s and later performed occasionally onstage and in nightclubs.
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Special Thanks (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Short)
Hired for first professional engagement by Gus Edwards; performed at the dinner show at the Ambassador Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Became emcee at the Martins Club
Broadway debut in "Follow Thru"
Film debut in a dance sequence in "Queen High"
Appeared with Anita Page and Fanny Brice in "Crazy Quilt" on Broadway
Became a star at MGM in "Broadway Melody of 1936"
Made feature film debut in Fox's "George White's 1935 Scandals"
Co-starred with James Stewart in "Born to Dance"
Had title role in "Rosalie"
Teamed with Fred Astaire in "Broadway Melody of 1940"
Saw star status slip a bit when given second lead in "Lady Be Good"; also first of three films with Red Skelton
One of many guest stars to appear in the fund-raising musical, "Thousands Cheer"
Left MGM after completing "I Dood It", co-starring Skelton
Last starring vehicle, "Sensations of 1945"
Returned to films to dance a solo routine in the Esther Williams musical, "The Duchess of Idaho"
Hosted the religious-themed TV program "Faith of Our Children"; won five local area Emmy Awards
Made final TV appearance at the AFI tribute to Fred Astaire